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Mr. E. D. Malone desires to state that 
loth the injunction for restraint and the 
libel action have been withdrawn unre- 
servedly by Professor G. E. Challenger, 
who, being satisfied that no criticism or 
comment in this book is meant in an offen- 
sive spirit^ has guaranteed that he will 
place no impediment to its publication and 






V. "QUESTION!" 56 














"I have a Presentiment that you are going to Propose, Ned" Frontispiece 

We did a Catharine- wheel together down the Passage ... 30 

A Distant View of the Plateau 52 

" Pedro Lopez, the King of them til, that I Killed on the 

Putomayo River*' 82 

Malone's Rough Map of the Journey to the Cliffs . . . . 104 
It was the First Direct Corroboration of the Truth of Professor 

Challenger's Story no 

"It's Blocked!" 132 

We could only Stand there Staring in Amazement .... 148 

The Swamp of the Pterodactyls 1 68 

I Read Hatred and Menace in the Evil Eyes 190 

Rough Chart of Maple White Land 202 

Two of his Guards Caught him by the Wrists and Pulled him 

Brutally to the Front 232 

The Plateau 262 

"The Moon, by George!" cried Lord John. "We are 

through, Boys!" 280 

Five Thousand People Awaited the Arrival of the Travelers . 288 

" Don't you Think all This is a Little too Personal? "... 306 


The Lost World 

" There Are Heroisms All Round Us" 

MR. HUNGERTON, her father, really was 
the most tactless person upon earth, 
a fluffy, feathery, untidy cockatoo of a 
man, perfectly good-natured, but absolutely 
centered upon his own silly self. If anything 
could have driven me from Gladys, it would have 
been the thought of such a father-in-law. I am 
convinced that he really believed in his heart that 
I came round to The Chestnuts three days a week 
for the pleasure of his company, and very espe- 
cially to hear his views upon bimetallism, a subject 
upon which he was by way of being an authority. 

For an hour or more that evening I listened to 
his monotonous chirrup about bad money driving 
out good, the token value of silver, the depreciation 
of the rupee, and the true standards of exchange. 

"Suppose," he cried with feeble violence, "that 
all the debts in the world were called up simul- 
taneously, and immediate payment insisted upon, 
what under our present conditions would 
happen then?" 

I gave the self-evident answer that I should be 
a ruined man, upon which he jumped from his 
chair, reproved me for my habitual levity, which 

4 The Lost World 

made it impossible for him to discuss any reason- 
able subject in my presence, and bounced off out 
of the room to dress for a Masonic meeting. 

At last I was alone with Gladys, and the mo- 
ment of Fate had come! All that evening I had 
felt like the soldier who awaits the signal which 
will send him on a forlorn hope; hope of victory 
and fear of repulse alternating in his mind. 

She sat with that proud, delicate profile of hers 
outlined against the red curtain. How beautiful 
she was! And yet how aloof! We had been 
friends, quite good friends; but never could I get 
beyond the same comradeship which I might have 
established with one of my fellow-reporters upon 
the Gazette, perfectly frank, perfectly kindly, 
and perfectly unsexual. My instincts are all 
against a woman being too frank and at her 
ease with me. It is no compliment to a man. 
Where the real sex feeling begins, timidity and 
distrust are its companions, heritage from old 
wicked days when love and violence went often 
hand in hand. The bent head, the averted eye, 
the faltering voice, the wincing figure these, 
and not the unshrinking gaze and frank reply, are 
the true signals of passion. Even in my short life 
I had learned as much as that or had inherited 
it in that race memory which we call instinct. 

Gladys was full of every womanly quality. 
Some judged her to be cold and hard; but such a 
thought was treason. That delicately bronzed 
skin, almost oriental in its coloring, that raven 
hair, the large liquid eyes, the full but exquisite 

There Are Heroisms All Round Us 5 

lips, all the stigmata of passion were there. But 
I was sadly conscious that up to now I had never 
found the secret of drawing it forth. However, 
come what might, I should have done with sus- 
pense and bring matters to a head to-night. She 
could but refuse me, and better be a repulsed lover 
than an accepted brother. 

CO far my thoughts had carried me, and I was 
about to break the long and uneasy silence, 
when two critical, dark eyes looked round at 
me,'and the proud head was shaken in smiling re- 
proof. "I have a presentiment that you are going 
to propose, Ned. I do wish you wouldn't; for 
things are so much nicer as they are." 

I drew my chair a little nearer. "Now, how 
did you know that I was going to propose?" I 
asked in genuine wonder. 

"Don't women always know? Do you suppose 
any woman in the world was ever taken unawares ? 
But oh, Ned, our friendship has been so good 
and so pleasant! What a pity to spoil it! Don't 
you feel how splendid it is that a young man and 
a young woman should be able to talk face to 
face as we have talked?" 

"I don't know, Gladys. You see, I can talk 
face to face with with the station-master." I 
can't imagine how that official came into the 
matter; but in he trotted, and set us both laugh- 
ing. "That does not satisfy me in the least. I 
want my arms round you, and your head on my 
breast, and oh, Gladys, I want " 

6 The Lost World 

She had sprung from her chair, as she saw signs 
that I proposed to demonstrate some of my wants. 
" YouVe spoiled everything, Ned," she said. "It's 
all so beautiful and natural until this kind of 
thing comes in! It is such a pity! Why can't 
you control yourself?" 

"I didn't invent it," I pleaded. "It's nature. 
It's love." 

"Well, perhaps if both love, it may be different. 
I have never felt it." 

" But you must you, with your beauty, with 
your soul! Oh, Gladys, you were made for love! 
You must love!" 

"One must wait till it comes." 

"But why can't you love me, Gladys? Is it 
my appearance, or what?" 

She did unbend a little. She put forward a 
hand such a gracious, stooping attitude it was 
and she pressed back my head. Then she 
looked into my upturned face with a very wistful 

"No, it isn't that," she said at last. "You're 
not a conceited boy by nature, and so I can safely 
tell you it is not that. It's deeper." 

"My character?" 

She nodded severely. 

"What can I do to mend it? Do sit down and 
talk it over. No, really, I won't if you'll only sit 

She looked at me with a wondering distrust 
which was much more to my mind than her whole- 
hearted confidence. How primitive and bestial 


There Are Heroisms All Round Us 7 

it looks when you put it down in black and white ! 

and perhaps after all it is only a feeling peculiar 
to myself. Anyhow, she sat down. 

"Now tell me what's amiss with me?" 
"I'm in love with somebody else," said'she. 
It was my turn to jump out of my chair. 
"It's nobody in particular," she explained, 
laughing at the expression of my face: "only an 
ideal. I've never met the kind of man I mean." 
"Tell me about him. What does he look like?" 
"Oh, he might look very much like you." 
"How dear of you to say that! Well, what is it 
that he does that I don't do ? Just say the word, 

teetotal, vegetarian, aeronaut, theosophist, 
superman. I'll have a try at it, Gladys, if you 
will only give me an idea what would please you." 

CHE laughed at the elasticity of my character. 
"Well, in the first place, I don't think my ideal 
would speak like that," said she. "He would 
be a harder, sterner man, not so ready to adapt 
himself to a silly girl's whim. But, above all, he 
must be a man who could do, who could act, who 
could look Death in the face and have no fear of 
him, a man of great deeds and strange experiences. 
It is never a man that I should love, but always 
the glories he had won; for they would be reflected 
upon me. Think of Richard Burton! When I 
read his wife's life of him I could so understand 
her love! And Lady Stanley! Did you ever read 
the wonderful last chapter of that book about her 
husband? These are the sort of men that a 

8 The Lost World 

woman could worship with all her soul, and yet be 
the greater, not the less, on account of her love, 
honored by all the world as the inspirer of noble 

She looked so beautiful in her enthusiasm that 
I nearly brought down the whole level of the inter- 
view. I gripped myself hard, and went on with 
the argument. 

"We can't all be Stanleys and Burtons/' said I; 
"besides, we don't get the chance, at least, I 
never had the chance. If I did, I should try to 
take it." 

"But chances are all around you. It is the 
mark of the kind of man I mean that he makes his 
own chances. You can't hold him back. I've 
never met him, and yet I seem to know him so 
well. There are heroisms all round us waiting to 
be done. It's for men to do them, and for women 
to reserve their love as a reward for such men. 
Look at that young Frenchman who went up last 
week in a balloon. It was blowing a gale of wind ; 
but because he was announced to go he insisted 
on starting. The wind blew him fifteen hundred 
miles in twenty-four hours, and he fell in the middle 
of Russia. That was the kind of man I mean. 
Think of the woman he loved, and how other 
women must have envied her! That's what I 
should like to be, envied for my man." 

"I'd have done it to please you." 

"But you shouldn't do it merely to please me. 
You should do it because you can't help yourself, 
because it's natural to you, because the man in 

There Are Heroisms All Round Us 9 

you is crying out for heroic expression. Now, 
when you described the Wigan coal explosion last 
month, could you not have gone down and helped 
those people, in spite of the choke-damp?" 

"I did." 

"You never said so." 

"There was nothing worth bucking about." 

"I didn't know." She looked at me with rather 
more interest. "That was brave of you." 

"I had to. If you want to write good copy, 
you must be where the things are." 

"What a prosaic motive! It seems to take all 
the romance out of it. But, still, whatever your 
motive, I am glad that you went down that 
mine." She gave me her hand; but with such 
sweetness and dignity that I could only stoop and 
kiss it. "I dare say I am merely a foolish woman 
with a young girl's fancies. And yet it is so real 
with me, so entirely part of my very self, that I 
cannot help acting upon it. If I marry, I do 
want to marry a famous man!" 

"Why should you not?" I cried. "It is women 
like you who brace men up. Give me a chance, 
and see if I will take it! Besides, as you say, 
men ought to make their own chances, and not 
wait until they are given. Look at Clive just a 
clerk, and he conquered India! By George! I'll 
do something in the world yet!" 

She laughed at my sudden Irish effervescence. 
"Why not?" she said. "You have everything a 
man could have, youth, health, strength, edu- 
cation, energy. I was sorry you spoke. And now 

10 The Lost World 

I am glad so glad if it wakens these thoughts 
in you!" 

"And if I do" 

Her dear hand rested like warm velvet upon my 
lips. "Not another word, Sir! You should have 
been at the office for evening duty half an hour ago ; 
only I hadn't the heart to remind you. Some day, 
perhaps, when you have won your place in the 
world, we shall talk it over again." 

STO so it was that I found myself that foggy 
November evening pursuing the Camberwell 
tram with my heart glowing within me, and 
with the eager determination that not another day 
should elapse before I should find some deed 
which was worthy of my lady. But who who 
in all this wide world could ever have imagined 
the incredible shape which that deed was to take, 
or the strange steps by which I was led to the doing 
of it? 

And, after all, this opening chapter will seem 
to the reader to have nothing to do with my 
narrative; and yet there would have been no 
narrative without it, for it is only when a man goes 
out into the world with the thought that there are 
heroisms all round him, and with the desire all 
alive in his heart to follow any which may come 
within sight of him, that he breaks away as I did 
from the life he knows, and ventures forth into 
the wonderful mystic twilight land where lie the 
great adventures and the great rewards. Behold 
me, then, at the office of the Daily Gazette, 

There Are Heroisms All Round Us 11 

on the staff of which I was a most insignificant 
unit, with the settled determination that very 
night, if possible, to find the quest which should be 
worthy of my Gladys! Was it hardness, was 
it selfishness, that she should ask me to risk my 
life for her own glorification? Such thoughts 
may come to middle age; but never to ardent 
three-and-twenty in the fever of his first love. 


"Try Your Luck with Professor Challenger" 

I ALWAYS liked McArdle, the crabbed, old, 
round-backed, red-headed news editor, and I 
rather hoped that he liked me. Of course, 
Beaumont was the real boss ; but he lived in the 
rarefied atmosphere of some Olympian height 
from which he could distinguish nothing smaller 
than an international crisis or a split in the 
Cabinet. Sometimes we saw him passing in 
lonely majesty to his inner sanctum, with his eyes 
staring vaguely and his mind hovering over the 
'Balkans or the Persian Gulf. He was above and 
beyond us. But McArdle was his first lieutenant, 
and it was he that we knew. The old man 
nodded as I entered the room, and he pushed his 
spectacles far up on his bald forehead. 

"Well, Mr. Malone, from all I hear, you seem 
to be doing very well," said he in his kindly Scotch 

I thanked him. 

"The colliery explosion was excellent. So was 
the Southward fire. You have the true des- 
creeptive touch. What did you want to see me 

"To ask a favor." 

Try Your Luck 13 

He looked alarmed, and his eyes shunned mine. 
"Tut, tut! What is it?" 

"Do you think, Sir, that you could possibly send 
me on some mission for the paper? I would do 
my best to put it through and get you some good 

"What sort of meesion had you in your mind, 
Mr. Malone?" 

"Well, Sir, anything that had adventure and 
danger in it. I really would do my very best. The 
more difficult it was, the better it would suit me." 

"You seem very anxious to lose your life." 

"To justify my life, Sir." 

"Dear me, Mr. Malone, this is very very 
exalted. I'm afraid the day for this sort of thing 
is rather past. The expense of the 'special 
meesion' business hardly justifies the result, and, 
of course, in any case it would only be an experi- 
enced man with a name that would command 
public confidence who would get such an order. 
The big blank spaces in the map are all being 
filled in, and there's no room for romance anywhere. 
Wait a bit, though!" he added, with a sudden 
smile upon his face. "Talking of the blank spaces 
of the map gives me an idea. What about expos- 
ing a fraud a modern Munchausen and mak- 
ing him rideeculous? You could show him up 
as the liar that he is ! Eh, man, it would be fine. 
How does it appeal to you?*' 

"Anything anywhere I care nothing." 

McArdle was plunged in thought for some 

14 The Lost World 

"I wonder whether you could get on friendly 
or at least on talking terms with the fellow," he 
said, at last. "You seem to have a sort of genius 
for establishing relations with people seem- 
pathy, I suppose, or animal magnetism, or youth- 
ful vitality, or something. I am conscious of it 

"You are very good, sir." 

" So why should you not try your luck with Pro- 
fessor Challenger, of Enmore Park?" 

I dare say I looked a little startled. 

" Challenger ! " I cried. " Professor Challenger, 
the famous zoologist! Wasn't he the man who 
broke the skull of Blundell, of the Telegraph?" 

The news editor smiled grimly. 

"Do you mind? Didn't you say it was adven- 
tures you were after?" 

"It is all in the way of business, sir," I answered. 

"Exactly. I don't suppose he can always be so 
violent as that. I'm thinking that Blundell got 
him at the wrong moment, maybe, or in the wrong 
fashion. You may have better luck, or more tact 
in handling him. There's something in your line 
there, I am sure, and the Gazette should work it." 

"I really know nothing about him," said I. 
"I only remember his name in connection with 
the police-court proceedings, for striking Blundell." 

"I have a few notes for your guidance, Mr. 
Malone. I've had my eye on the Professor for 
some little time." He took a paper from a drawer. 
"Here is a summary of his record. I give it you 

Try Your Luck 15 

"'Challenger, George Edward. Born: Largs, 
N. B., 1863. Educ.: Largs Academy; Edinburgh 
University. British Museum Assistant, 1892. As- 
sistant-Keeper of Comparative Anthropology 
Department, 1 893 . Resigned after acrimonious Cor- 
respondence same year. Winner of Crayston Medal 
for Zoological Research. Foreign Member of ' 
well, quite a lot of things, a^out two inches of 
small type * Societe Beige, American Academy 
of Sciences, La Plata, etc., etc. Ex-President 
Palaeontological Society. Section H, British Asso- 
ciation' so on, so on! 'Publications: "Some 
Observations Upon a Series of Kalmuck Skulls"; 
"Outlines of Vertebrate Evolution"; and numer- 
ous papers, including "The underlying fallacy of 
Weissmannism," which caused heated discussion 
at the Zoological Congress of Vienna. Recrea- 
tions: Walking, Alpine climbing. Address: En- 
more Park, Kensington, W/ 

"There, take it with you. I've nothing more 
for you to-night." 

I pocketed the slip of paper. 

"One moment, sir," I said, as I realized that it 
was a pink bald head, and not a red face, which 
was fronting me. "I am not very clear yet why 
I am to interview this gentleman. What has he 

The face flashed back again. 

"Went to South America on a solitary expedee- 
tion two years ago. Came back last year. Had 
undoubtedly been to South America, but refused 
to say exactly where. Began to tell his adventures 

16 The Lost World 

in a vague way, but somebody started to pick 
holes, and he just shut up like an oyster. Some- 
thing wonderful happened or the man's a cham- 
pion liar, which is the more probable supposeetion. 
Had some damaged photographs, said to be fakes. 
Got so touchy that he assaults anyone who asks 
questions, and heaves reporters doun the stairs. 
In my opinion he's just a homicidal megalomaniac 
with a turn for science. That's your man, Mr. 
Malone. Now, off you run, and see what you 
can make of him. You're big enough to look after 
yourself. Anyway, you are all safe. Employers' 
Liability Act, you know." 

A grinning red face turned once more into a 
pink oval, fringed with gingery fluff; the inter- 
view was at an end. 

I walked across to the Savage Club, but instead 
of turning into it I leaned upon the railings of 
Adelphi Terrace and gazed thoughtfully for a long 
time at the brown, oily river. I can always think 
most sanely and clearly in the open air. I took 
out the list of Professor Challenger's exploits, and 
I read it over under the electric lamp. Then I 
had what I can only regard as an inspiration. As 
a Pressman, I felt sure from what I had been told 
that I could never hope to get into touch with this 
cantankerous Professor. But these recrimina- 
tions, twice mentioned in his skeleton biog- 
raphy, could only mean that he was a fanatic in 
science. Was there not an exposed margin there 
upon which he might be accessible? I would 

Try Your Luck 17 

I entered the club. It was just after eleven, 
and the big room was fairly full, though the rush 
had not yet set in. I noticed a tall, thin, angular 
man seated in an arm-chair by the fire. He turned 
as I drew my chair up to him. It was the man 
of all others whom I should have chosen Tarp 
Henry, of the staff of Nature, a thin, dry, leathery 
creature, who was full, to those who knew him, 
of kindly humanity. I plunged instantly into 
my subject. 

"What do you know of Professor Chal- 
lenger ?" 

"Challenger?" He gathered his brows in scien- 
tific disapproval. "Challenger was the man who 
came with some cock-and-bull story from South 

"What story?" 

"Oh, it was rank nonsense about some queer 
animals he had discovered. I believe he has 
retracted since. Anyhow, he has suppressed it 
all. He gave an interview to Reuter's, and there 
was such a howl that he saw it wouldn't do. It 
was a discreditable business. There were one 
or two folk who were inclined to take him seriously, 
but he soon choked them off." 


"Well, by his insufferable rudeness and impos- 
sible behavior. There was poor old Wadley, of the 
Zoological Institute. Wadley sent a message: 
'The President of the Zoological Institute presents 
his compliments to Professor Challenger, and 
would take it as a personal favor if he would do 

18 The Lost World 

them the honor to come to their next meeting/ 
The answer was unprintable." 

"You don't say?" 

"Well, a bowdlerized version of it would run: 
* Professor Challenger presents his compliments to 
the President of the Zoological Institute, and 
would take it as a personal favor if he would go 
to the devil/" 

"Good Lord!" 

'-, "Yes, I expect that's what old Wadley said. I 
remember his wail at the meeting, which began 
'In fifty years experience of scientific intercourse 
' It quite broke the old man up." 

" Anything more about Challenger ? " 

"Well, I'm a bacteriologist, you know. I live in 
a nine-hundred-diameter microscope. I can hardly 
claim to take serious notice of anything that I can 
see with my naked eye. I'm a frontiersman from 
the extreme edge of the Knowable, and I feel quite 
out of place when I leave my study and come into 
touch with all you great, rough, hulking creatures. 
I'm too detached to talk scandal, and yet at 
scientific conversaziones I have heard something 
of Challenger, for he is one of those men whom 
nobody can ignore. He's as clever as they make 
'em a full-charged battery of force and vitality, 
but a quarrelsome, ill-conditioned faddist, and 
unscrupulous at that. He had gone the length 
of faking some photographs over the South Ameri- 
can business." 

"You say he is a faddist. What is his particular 

Try Your Luck 19 

"He has a thousand, but the latest is something 
about Weissmann and Evolution. He had a 
fearful row about it in Vienna, I believe." 

"Can't you tell me the point?" 

"Not at the moment, but a translation of the 
proceedings exists. We have it filed at the office. 
Would you care to come?" 

"It's just what I want. I have to interview the 
fellow, and I need some lead up to him. It's really 
awfully good of you to give me a lift. I'll go with 
you now, if it is not too late." 

JJALF an hour later I was seated in the news- 
paper office with a huge tome in front of me, 
which had been opened at the article "Weiss- 
mann versus Darwin," with the sub-heading, 
"Spirited Protest at Vienna. Lively Proceed- 
ings." My scientific education having been some- 
what neglected, I was unable to follow the whole 
argument, but it was evident that the English 
Professor had handled his subject in a very 
aggressive fashion, and had thoroughly annoyed 
his Continental colleagues. " Protests," " Uproar," 
and "General appeal to the Chairman" were three 
of the first brackets which caught my eye. Most of 
the matter might have been written in Chinese for 
any definite meaning that it conveyed to my brain. 

"I wish you could translate it into English for 
me," I said, pathetically, to my help-mate. 

"Well, it is a translation." 

"Then I'd better try my luck with the original." 

20 The Lost World 

"It is certainly rather deep for a layman." 

" If I could only get a single good, meaty sentence 
which seemed to convey some sort of definite 
human idea, it would serve my turn. Ah, yes, 
this one will do. I seem in a vague way almost 
to understand it. I'll copy it out. This shall 
be my link with the terrible Professor." 

"Nothing else I can do?" 

"Well, yes; I propose to write to him. If I 
could frame the letter here, and use your address 
it would give atmosphere." 

"We'll have the fellow round here making a row 
and breaking the furniture." 

"No, no; you'll see the letter nothing con- 
tentious, I assure you." 

"Well, that's my chair and desk. You'll find 
paper there. I'd like to censor it before it goes." 

It took some doing, but I flatter myself that it 
wasn't such a bad job when it was finished. I 
read it aloud to the critical bacteriologist with 
some pride in my handiwork. 

humble student of Nature, I have always taken the most 
profound interest in your speculations as to the differ- 
ences between Darwin and Weissmann. I have recently 
had occasion to refresh my memory by re-reading " 

"You infernal liar!" murmured Tarp Henry. 

"by re-reading your masterly address at 

Vienna. That lucid and admirable statement seems 
to be the last word in the matter. There is one sen- 
tence in it, however namely: 'I protest strongly 
against the insufferable and entirely dogmatic asser- 

Try Your Luck 21 

tion that each separate id is a microcosm possessed 
of an historical architecture elaborated slowly through 
the series of generations/ Have you no desire, in 
view of later research, to modify this statement? 
Do you not think that it is over-accentuated ? With 
your permission, I would ask the favor of an inter- 
view, as I feel strongly upon the subject, and have 
certain suggestions which I could only elaborate in a 
personal conversation. With your consent, I trust 
to have the honor of calling at eleven o'clock the day 
after to-morrow (Wednesday) morning. 

"I remain, Sir, with assurances of profound respect, 
yours very truly, EDWARD D. M ALONE." 

" How's that?" I asked, triumphantly. 

"Well, if your conscience can stand it " 

"It has never failed me yet." 

"But what do you mean to do?" 

"To get there. Once I am in his room I may see 
some opening. I may even go the length of open 
confession. If he is a sportsman he will be tickled." 

"Tickled, indeed! He's much more likely to do 
the tickling. Chain mail, or an American football 
suit that's what you'll want. Well, good-bye. 
I'll have the answer for you here on Wednes- 
day morning if he ever deigns to answer 
you. He is a violent, dangerous, cantankerous 
character, hated by everyone who comes across 
him, and the butt of the students, so far as they 
dare take a liberty with him. Perhaps it would 
be best for you if you never heard from the fellow 
at all." 


"He is a Perfectly Impossible Person" 

MY friend's fear or hope was not des- 
tined to be realized. When I called on 
Wednesday there was a letter with the 
West Kensington postmark upon it, and my name 
scrawled across the envelope in a handwriting 
which looked like a barbed-wire railing. The 
contents were as follows: 


"SiR, I have duly received your note, in which 
you claim to endorse my views, although I am not 
aware that they are dependent upon endorsement 
either from you or anyone else. You have ventured 
to use the word 'speculation' with regard to my state- 
ment upon the subject of Darwinism, and I would 
call your attention to the fact that such a word in such 
a connection is offensive to a degree. The context 
convinces me, however, that you have sinned rather 
through ignorance and tactlessness than through 
malice, so I am content to pass the matter by. You 
quote an isolated sentence from my lecture, and 
appear to have some difficulty in understanding it. 
I should have thought that only a sub-human intelli- 
gence could have failed to grasp the point, but if it 
really needs amplification I shall consent to see you 
at the hour named, though visits and visitors of every 

He Is Perfectly Impossible 23 

sort are exceeding distasteful to me. As to your 
suggestion that I may modify my opinion, I would 
have you know that it is not my habit to do so after 
a deliberate expression of my mature views. You 
will kindly show the envelope of this letter to my 
man, Austin, when you call, as he has to take every 
precaution to shield me from the intrusive rascals 
who call themselves 'journalists/ 

"Yours faithfully, 

This was the letter that I read aloud to Tarp 
Henry, who had come down early to hear the 
result of my venture. His only remark was, 
"There's some new stuff, cuticura or something, 
which is better than arnica/* Some people have 
such extraordinary notions of humor. 

TT was nearly half-past ten before I had received 
my message, but a taxicab took me round in good 
time for my appointment. It was an imposing 
porticoed house at which we stopped, and the 
heavily-curtained windows gave every indication 
of wealth upon the part of this formidable Pro- 
fessor. The door was opened by an odd, swarthy, 
dried-up person of uncertain age, with a dark 
pilot jacket and brown leather gaiters. I found 
afterwards that he was the chauffeur, who filled 
the gaps left by a succession of fugitive butlers. 
He looked me up and down with a searching light 
blue eye. 

"Expected?" he asked. 
"An appointment." 

24 The Lost World 

"Got your letter?" 

I produced the envelope. 

"Right!" He seemed to be a person of few 
words. Following him down the passage I was 
suddenly interrupted by a small woman, who 
stepped out from what proved to be the dining- 
room door. She was a bright, vivacious, dark- 
eyed lady, more French than English in her type. 

"One moment," she said. "You can wait, 
Austin. Step in here, sir. May I ask if you have 
met my husband before?" 

"No, madam, I have not had the honor." 

"Then I apologize to you in advance. I must 
tell you that he is a perfectly impossible person 
absolutely impossible. If you are forewarned 
you will be the more ready to make allowances." 

"It is most considerate of you, Imadam." 

" Get quickly out of the room if he seems inclined 
to be violent. Don't wait to argue with him. 
Several people have been injured through doing 
that. Afterwards there is a public scandal and 
it reflects upon me and all of us. I suppose it 
wasn't about South America you wanted to see 

I could not lie to a lady. 

" Dear me ! That is his most dangerous subject. 
You won't believe a word he says I'm sure I 
don't wonder. But don't tell him so, for it makes 
him very violent. Pretend to believe him, and 
you may get through all right. Remember he 
believes it himself. Of that you may be assured. 
A more honest man never lived. Don't wait any 

He Is Perfectly Impossible 25 

longer or he may suspect. If you find him danger- 
ous really dangerous ring the bell and hold 
him off until I come. Even at his worst I can 
usually control him." 

these encouraging words the lady handed 
me over to the taciturn Austin, who had 
waited like a bronze statue of discretion during 
our short interview, and I was conducted to the 
end of the passage. There was a tap at a door, 
a bull's bellow from within, and I was face to face 
with the Professor. 

He sat in a rotating chair behind a broad table, 
which was covered with books, maps, and dia- 
grams. As I entered, his seat spun round to face 
me. His appearance made me gasp. I was 
prepared for something strange, but not for so 
overpowering a personality as this. It was his 
size which took one's breath away his size and 
his imposing presence. His head was enormous, 
the largest I have ever seen upon a human being. 
I am sure that his top-hat, had I ever ventured 
to don it, would have slipped over me entirely and 
rested on my shoulders. He had the face and 
beard which I associate with an Assyrian bull; 
the former florid, the latter so black as almost 
to have a suspicion of blue, spade-shaped and 
rippling down over his chest. The hair was 
peculiar, plastered down in front in a long, curving 
wisp over his massive forehead. The eyes were 
blue-gray under great black tufts, very clear, very 
critical, and very masterful. A huge spread of 

26 The Lost World 

shoulders and a chest like a barrel were the other 
parts of him which appeared above the table, save 
for two enormous hands covered with long black 
hair. This and a bellowing, roaring, rumbling 
voice made up my first impression of the notorious 
Professor Challenger. 

"Well?" said he, with a most insolent stare. 
"What now?" 

I must keep up my deception for at least a little 
time longer, otherwise here was evidently an end of 
the interview. 

"You were good enough to give me an ap- 
pointment, sir," said I, humbly, producing his 

He took my letter from his desk and laid it out 
before him. 

"Oh, you are the young person who cannot 
understand plain English, are you? My general 
conclusions you are good enough to approve, as I 

"Entirely, sir entirely!" I was very em- 

"Dear me! That strengthens my position very 
much, does it not? Your age and appearance 
make your support doubly valuable. Well, at 
least you are better than that herd of swine in 
Vienna, whose gregarious grunt is, however, not 
more offensive than the isolated effort of the 
British hog." He glared at me as the present 
representative of the beast. 

"They seem to have behaved abominably," 
said I. 

He Is Perfectly Impossible 27 

"I assure you that I can fight my own battles, 
and that I have no possible need of your sympathy. 
Put me alone, sir, and with my back to the wall. 
G. E. C. is happiest then. Well, sir, let us do 
what we can to curtail this visit, which can hardly 
be agreeable to you, and is inexpressibly irksome 
to me. You had, as I have been led to believe, 
some comments to make upon the proposition 
which I advanced in my thesis/' 

There was a brutal directness about his methods 
which made evasion difficult. I must still make 
play and wait for a better opening. It had seemed 
simple enough at a distance. Oh, my Irish wits, 
could they not help me now, when I needed help 
so sorely? He transfixed me with two sharp, 
steely eyes. "Come, come!" he rumbled. 

"I am, of course, a mere student," said I, with a 
fatuous smile, "hardly more, I might say, than an 
earnest inquirer. At the same time, it seemed to 
me that you were a little severe upon Weissmann 
in this matter. Has not the general evidence 
since that date tended to well, to strengthen 
his position?" 

"What evidence?" He spoke with a menacing 

"Well, of course,! am aware that there is not any 
what you might call definite evidence. I alluded 
merely to the trend of modern thought and the 
general scientific point of view, if I might so 
express it." 

He leaned forward with great earnestness. 

"I suppose you are aware," said he, checking 

28 The Lost World 

off points upon his fingers, "that the cranial index 
is a constant factor?" 

"Naturally," said I. 

"And that telegony is still sub judice?" 


"And that the germ plasm is different from the 
parthenogenetic egg?" 

"Why, surely!" I cried, and gloried in my own 

"But what does that prove?" he asked, in a 
gentle, persuasive voice. 

" Ah, what indeed ? " I murmured. " What does 
it prove?" 

"Shall I tell you?" he cooed. 

"Pray do." 

"It proves," he roared, with a sudden blast of 
fury, "that you are the damnedest imposter in 
London a vile, crawling journalist, who has no 
more science than he has decency in his composi- 

HE had sprung to his feet with a mad rage in his 
eyes. Even at that moment of tension I 
found time for amazement at the discovery that 
he was quite a short man, his head not higher than 
my shoulder a stunted Hercules whose tremen- 
dous vitality had all run to depth, breadth, and 

"Gibberish!" he cried, leaning forward, with 
his fingers on the table and his face projecting. 
"That's what I have been talking to you, sir 
scientific gibberish! Did you think you could 

He Is Perfectly Impossible 29 

match cunning with me you with your walnut 
of a brain? You think you are omnipotent, you 
infernal scribblers, don't you? That your praise 
can make a man and your blame can break him? 
We must all bow to you, and try to get a favorable 
word, must we? This man shall have a leg up, 
and this man shall have a dressing down! Creep- 
ing vermin, I know you ! You've got out of your 
station. Time was when your ears were clipped. 
You've lost your stense of proportion. Swollen 
gas-bags! I'll keep you in your proper place. 
Yes, sir, you haven't got over G. E. C. There's 
one man who is still your master. He warned 
you off, but if you will come, by the Lord you do 
it at your own risk. Forfeit, my good Mr. Malone, 
I claim forfeit ! You have played a rather danger- 
ous game, and it strikes me that you have lost it." 

"Look here, sir," said I, backing to the door and 
opening it; "you can be as abusive as you like. 
But there is a limit. You shall not assault me." 

"Shall I not?" He was slowly advancing in a 
peculiarly menacing way, but he stopped now and 
put his big hands into the side-pockets of a rather 
boyish short jacket which he wore. "I have 
thrown several of you out of the house. You will 
be the fourth or fifth. Three pound fifteen each 
that is how it averaged. Expensive, but very 
necessary. Now, sir, why should you not follow 
your brethren? I rather think you must." He 
resumed his unpleasant and stealthy advance, 
pointing his toes as he walked, like a dancing 

30 The Lost World 

I could have bolted for the hall door, but it would 
have been too ignominious. Besides, a little glow 
of righteous anger was springing up within me. I 
had been hopelessly in the wrong before, but this 
man's menaces were putting me in the right. 

"Til trouble you to keep your hands off, sir. 
I'll not stand it." 

"Dear me!" His black moustache lifted and a 
white fang twinkled in a sneer. "You won't 
stand it, eh?" 

"Don't be such a fool, Professor!" I cried. 
"What can you hope for? I'm fifteen stone, as 
hard as nails, and play center three-quarter every 
Saturday for the London Irish. I'm not the 
man " 

It was at that moment that he rushed me. It 
was lucky that I had opened the door, or we should 
have gone through it. We did a Catharine-wheel 
together down the passage. Somehow we gathered 
up a chair upon our way, and bounded on with it 
towards the street. My mouth was full of his 
beard, our arms were locked, our bodies inter- 
twined, and that infernal chair radiated its legs 
all round us. The watchful Austin had thrown 
open the hall door. We went with a back somer- 
sault down the front steps. I have seen the two 
Macs attempt something of the kind at the halls, 
but it appears to take some practise to do it 
without hurting oneself. The chair went to 
matchwood at the bottom, and we rolled apart 
into the gutter. He sprang to his feet, waving 
his fists and wheezing like an asthmatic. 

He Is Perfectly Impossible 31 

"Had enough?" he panted. 
"You infernal bully!" I cried, as I gathered 
myself together. 

HP HEN and there we should have tried the thing 
out, for he was effervescing with fight, but 
fortunately I was rescued from an odious situation. 
A policeman was beside us, his notebook in his 

"What's all this? You ought to be ashamed" 
said the policeman. It was the most rational 
remark which I had heard in EnmorePark. "Well," 
he insisted, turning to me, "what is it, then?" 

"This man attacked me," said I. 

"Did you attack him?" asked the policeman. 

The Professor breathed hard and said nothing. 

"It's not the first time, either," said the police- 
man, severely, shaking his head. "You were in 
trouble last month for the same thing. You've 
blackened this' young man's eye. Do you give 
him in charge, sir?" 

I relented. 

"No," said I, "I do not." 

"What's that?" said the policeman. 

"I was to blame myself. I intruded upon him. 
He gave me fair warning." 

The policeman snapped up his notebook. 

"Don't let us have any more such goings-on," 
said he. "Now, then! Move on, there, move 
on!" This to a butcher's boy, a maid, and one 
or two loafers who had collected. He clumped 
heavily down the street, driving this little flock 

32 The Lost World 

before him. The Professor looked at me, and 
there was something humorous at the back of his 

"Come in!" said he. "I've not done with you 

The speech had a sinister sound, but I followed 
him none the less into the house. The man- 
servant, Austin, like a wooden image, closed the 
door behind us. 


"It's Just the very Biggest Thing in the World 9 ' 

HARDLY was it shut when Mrs. Challenger 
darted out from the dining-room. The 
small woman was in a furious temper. 
She barred her husband's way like an enraged 
chicken in front of a bulldog. It was evident 
that she had seen my exit, but had not observed 
my return. 

"You brute, George!" she screamed "YouVe 
hurt that nice young man." 

He jerked backwards with his thumb. 
"Here he is, safe and sound behind me." 
She was confused, but not unduly so. 
"I am so sorry, I didn't see you." 
"I assure you, madam, that it is all right." 
"He has marked your poor face! Oh, George, 
what a brute you are ! Nothing but scandals from 
one end of the week to the other. Everyone hating 
and making fun of you. YouVe finished my 
patience. This ends it." 
"Dirty linen," he rumbled. 
"It's not a secret," she cried. "Do you suppose 
that the whole street the whole of London, for 

that matter Get away, Austin, we don't 

want you here. Do you suppose they don't all 

34 The Lost World 

talk about you? Where is your dignity? You, a 
man who should have been Regius Professor at a 
great University with a thousand students all 
revering you. Where is your dignity, George?" 

"How about yours, my dear?" 

"You try me too much. A ruffian a common 
brawling ruffian that's what you have become." 

"Be good, Jessie." 

"A roaring, raging bully!' 5 

"That's done it! Stool of penance!" said he. 

To my amazement he stooped, picked her up, 
and placed her sitting upon a high pedestal of 
black marble in the angle of the hall. It was at 
least seven feet high, and so thin that she could 
hardly balance upon it. A more absurd object 
than she presented cocked up there with her face 
convulsed with anger, her feet dangling, and her 
body rigid for fear of an upset, I could not imagine. 

"Let me down!" she wailed. 

"Say ' please." 

"You brute, George! Let me down this 

"Come into the study, Mr. Malone." 

"Really, sir !" said I, looking at the lady. 

"Here's Mr. Malone pleading for you, Jessie. 
Say 'please/ and down you come." 

" Oh, you brute ! Please ! please ! " 

He took her down as if she had been a canary. 

"You must behave yourself, dear. Mr. Malone 
is a Pressman. He will have it all in his rag to- 
morrow, and sell an extra dozen among our neigh- 
bors. 'Strange story of high life' you felt 

The Biggest Thing in the World 35 

fairly high on that pedestal, did you not ? Then a 
sub-title, ( Glimpse of a singular menage/ He's a 
foul feeder, is Mr. Malone, a carrion eater, like 
all of his kind porcus ex grege diaboli a swine 
from the devil's herd. That's it, Malone 

"You are really intolerable!" said I, hotly. 

He bellowed with laughter. 

"We shall have a coalition presently," he 
boomed, looking from his wife to me and puffing 
out his enormous chest. Then, suddenly alter- 
ing his tone, "Excuse this frivolous family badinage, 
Mr. Malone. I called you back for some more 
serious purpose than to mix you up with our little 
domestic pleasantries. Run away, little woman, 
and don't fret." He placed a huge hand upon 
each of her shoulders. "All that you say is 
perfectly true. I should be a better man if I 
did what you advise, but I shouldn't be quite 
George Edward Challenger. There are plenty of 
better men, my dear, but only one G. E. C. So 
make the best of him." He suddenly gave her 
a resounding kiss, which embarrassed me even 
more than his violence had done. "Now, Mr. 
Malone," he continued, with a great accession of 
dignity, "this way, if you please." 


re-entered the room which we had left so 
tumultuously ten minutes before. The Pro- 
fessor closed the door carefully behind us, motioned 
me into an arm-chair, and pushed a cigar-box 
under my nose. 

36 The Lost World 

" Real San Juan Colorado," he said. " Excitable 
people like you are the better for narcotics. 
Heavens! don't bite it! Cut and cut with 
reverence! Now lean back, and listen attentively 
to whatever I may care to say to you. If any 
remark should occur to you, you can reserve it 
for some more opportune time. 

" First of all, as to your return to my house after 
your most justifiable expulsion" -he protruded 
his beard, and stared at me as one who challenges 
and invites contradiction "after, as I say, your 
well-merited expulsion. The reason lay in your 
answer to that most officious policeman, in which 
I seemed to discern some glimmering of good 
feeling upon your part more, at any rate, than 
I am accustomed to associate with your profession. 
In admitting that the fault of the incident lay 
with you, you gave some evidence of a certain 
mental detachment and breadth of view which 
attracted my favorable notice. The sub-species 
of the human race to which you unfortunately 
belong has always been below my mental horizon. 
Your words brought you suddenly above it. You 
swam up into my serious notice. For this reason 
I asked you to return with me, as I was minded 
to make your further acquaintance. You will 
kindly deposit your ash in the small Japanese tray 
on the bamboo table which stands at your left 

All this he boomed forth like a professor address- 
ing his class. He had swung round his revolving 
chair so as to face me, and he sat all puffed out 

The Biggest Thing in the World 37 

like an enormous bull-frog, his head laid back 
and his eyes half-covered by supercilious lids. 
Now he suddenly turned himself sideways, and 
all I could see of him was tangled hair with a red, 
protruding ear. He was scratching about among 
the litter of papers upon his desk. He faced me 
presently with what looked like a very tattered 
sketch-book in his hand. 

"I am going to talk to you about South America," 
said he. "No comments if you please. First of 
all, I wish you to understand that nothing I tell 
you now is to be repeated in any public way unless 
you have my express permission. That permis- 
sion will, in all human probability, never be given. 
Is that clear?" 

"It is very hard," said I. "Surely a judicious 

He replaced the notebook upon the table. 

"That ends it," said he. "I wish you a very 
good morning." 

"No, no!" I cried. "I submit to any condi- 
tions. So far as I can see, I have no choice." 

"None in the world, "said he. 

"Well, then, I promise." 

"Word of honor?" 

"Word of honor." 

He looked at me with doubt in his insolent eyes. 

"After all, what do I know about your honor?" 
said he. 

"Upon my word, sir," I cried, angrily, "you 
take very great liberties! I have never been so 
insulted in my life." 

38 The Lost World 

He seemed more interested than annoyed at 
my outbreak. 

" Round-headed," he muttered. "Brachyce- 
phalic, gray-eyed, black-haired, with suggestion 
of the negroid. Celtic, I presume?" 

"I am an Irishman, sir." 

"Irish Irish?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"That, of course, explains it. Let me see; you 
have given me your promise that my confidence 
will be respected? That confidence, I may say, 
will be far from complete. But I am prepared to 
give you a few indications which will be of interest. 
In the first place, you are probably aware that 
two years ago I made a journey to South America 
one which will be classical in the scientific his- 
tory of the world? The object of my journey 
was to verify some conclusions of Wallace and of 
Bates, which could only be done by observing 
their reported facts under the same conditions in 
which they had themselves noted them. If my 
expedition had no other results it would still have 
been noteworthy, but a curious incident occurred 
to me while there which opened up an entirely 
fresh line of inquiry. 

"You are aware or probably, in this half- 
educated age, you are not aware that the 
country round some parts of the Amazon is still 
only partially explored, and that a great number 
of tributaries, some of them entirely uncharted, 
run into the main river. It was my business to 
visit this little-known back-country and to examine 

The Biggest Thing in the World 39 

its fauna, which furnished me with the materials 
for several chapters for that great and monu- 
mental work upon zoology which will be my life's 
justification. I was returning, my work accom- 
plished, when I had occasion to spend a night at a 
small Indian village at a point where a certain 
tributary the name and position of which I 
withhold opens into the main river. The natives 
were Cucama Indians, an amiable but degraded 
race, with mental powers hardly superior to the 
average Londoner. I had effected some cures 
among them upon my way up the river, and had 
impressed them considerably with my personality, 
so that I was not surprised to find myself eagerly 
awaited upon my return. I gathered from their 
signs that someone had urgent need of my medical 
services, and I followed the chief to one of his 
huts. When I entered I found that the sufferer 
to whose aid I had been summoned had that instant 
expired. He was, to my surprise, no Indian, but 
a white man.; indeed, I may say a very white 
man, for he was flaxen-haired and had some 
characteristics of an albino. He was clad in rags, 
was very emaciated, and bore every trace of pro- 
longed hardship. So far as I could understand 
the account of the natives, he was a complete 
stranger to them, and had come upon their village 
through the woods alone and in the last stage of 

"The man's knapsack lay beside the couch, and 
I examined the contents. His name was written 
upon a tab within it Maple White, Lake Avenue, 

40 The Lost Word 

Detroit, Michigan. It is a name to which I am 
prepared always to lift my hat. It is not too much 
to say that it will rank level with my own when 
the final credit of this business comes to be 

"From the contents of the knapsack it was 
evident that this man had been an artist and poet 
in search of effects. There were scraps of verse. 
I do not profess to be a judge of such things, but 
they appeared to me to be singularly wanting in 
merit. There were also some rather commonplace 
pictures of river scenery, a paint-box, a box of 
colored chalks, some brushes, that curved bone 
which lies upon my inkstand, a volume of Baxter's 
* Moths and Butterflies/ a cheap revolver, and a 
few cartridges. Of personal equipment he either 
had none or he had lost it in his journey. Such 
were the total effects of this strange American 

"I was turning away from him when I observed 
that something projected from the front of his 
ragged jacket. It was this sketch-book, which 
was as dilapidated then as you see it now. Indeed, 
I can assure you that a first folio of Shakespeare 
could not be treated with greater reverence than 
this relic has been since it came into my posses- 
sion. I hand it to you now, and I ask you 
to take it page by page and to examine the 

He helped himself to a cigar and leaned back 
with a fiercely critical pair of eyes, taking note 
of the effect which this document would produce. 

The Biggest Thing in the World 41 

T HAD opened the volume with some expecta- 
tion of a revelation, though of what nature I 
could not imagine. The first page was disap- 
pointing, however, as it contained nothing but 
the picture of a very fat man in a pea-jacket, with 
the legend, "Jimmy Colver on the Mail-boat," 
written beneath it. There followed several pages 
which were filled with small sketches of Indians 
and their ways. Then came a picture of a cheer- 
ful and corpulent ecclesiastic in a shovel hat, 
sitting opposite a very thin European, and the 
inscription: " Lunch with Fra Cristofero at Ro- 
sario." Studies of women and babies accounted 
for several more pages, and then there was an 
unbroken series of animal drawings with such 
explanations as "Manatee upon Sandbank," 
"Turtles and Their Eggs," "Black Ajouti under 
a Miriti Palm" the matter disclosing some 
sort of pig-like animal; and finally came a double 
page of studies of long-snouted and very unpleas- 
ant saurians. I could make nothing of it, and 
said so to the Professor. 

"Surely these are only crocodiles?" 

"Alligators! Alligators! There is hardly such 
a thing as a true crocodile in South America. 
The distinction between them - 

"I meant that I could see nothing unusual 
nothing to justify what you have said." 

He smiled serenely. 

"Try the next page," said he. 

I was still unable to sympathize. It was a 
full-page sketch of a landscape roughly tinted 

42 The Lost World 

in color the kind of painting which an open-air 
artist takes as a guide to a future more elaborate 
effort. There was a pale-green foreground of 
feathery vegetation, which sloped upwards and 
ended in a line of cliffs dark red in color, and 
curiously ribbed like some basaltic formations 
which I have seen. They extended in an unbroken 
wall right across the background. At one point 
was an isolated pyramidal rock, crowned by a 
great tree, which appeared to be separated by a 
cleft from the main crag. Behind it all, a blue 
tropical sky. A thin green line of vegetation 
fringed the summit of the ruddy cliff. 

"Well?" he asked. 

"It is no doubt a curious formation," said I, 
"but I am not geologist enough to say that it is 

"Wonderful!" he repeated. "It is unique. 
It is incredible. No one on earth has ever dreamed 
of such a possibility. Now the next." 

I turned it over, and gave an exclamation of 
surprise. There was a full-page picture of the 
most extraordinary creature that I had ever seen. 
It was the wild dream of an opium smoker, a vision 
of delirium. The head was like that of a fowl, 
the body that of a bloated lizard, the trailing tail 
was furnished with upward-turned spikes, and 
the curved back was edged with a high serrated 
fringe, which looked like a dozen cocks' wattles 
placed behind each other. In front of this 
creature was an absurd mannikin, or dwarf, in 
human form, who stood staring at it. 

The Biggest Thing in the World 43 

"VX/'ELL, what do you think of that?" cried 
the Professor, rubbing his hands with an 
air of triumph. 

"It is monstrous grotesque." 

"But what made him draw such an animal?" 

''Trade gin, I should think." 

"Oh, that's the best explanation you can give, 
is it?" 

"Well, sir, what is yours?" 

"The obvious one that the creature exists. 
That is actually sketched from the life." 

I should have laughed only that I had a vision 
of our doing another Catharine-wheel down the 

"No doubt," said I, "no doubt," as one humors 
an imbecile. "I confess, however," I added, 
''that this tiny human figure puzzles me. If it 
were an Indian we could set it down as evidence 
of some pigmy race in America, but it appears 
to be a European in a sun-hat." 

The Professor snorted like an angry buffalo. 
"You really touch the limit," said he. "You 
enlarge my view of the possible. Cerebral paresis ! 
Mental inertia! Wonderful!" 

He was too absurd to make me angry. Indeed, 
it was a waste of energy, for if you were going to 
be angry with this man you would be angry all 
the time. I contented myself with smiling wearily. 
" It struck me that the man was small," said I. 

"Look here!" he cried, leaning forward and 
dabbing a great hairy sausage of a finger on to the 
picture. "You see that plant behind the animal; 

44 The Lost World 

I suppose you thought it was a dandelion or a 
Brussels sprout what? Well, it is a vegetable 
ivory palm, and they run to about fifty or sixty 
feet. Don't you see that the man is put in for 
a purpose ? He couldn't really have stood in front 
of that brute and lived to draw it. He sketched 
himself in to give a scale of heights. He was, 
we will say, over five feet high. The tree is ten 
times bigger, which is what one would expect." 

"Good heavens!" I cried. "Then you think 

the beast was Why, Charing Cross station 

would hardly make a kennel for such a brute!" 

"Apart from exaggeration, he is certainly a 
wellgrown specimen," said the Professor, com- 

"But," I cried, "surely the whole experience of 
the human race is not to be set aside on account 
of a single sketch" I had turned over the 
leaves and ascertained that there was nothing more 
in the book- "a single sketch by a wandering 
American artist who may have done it under hash- 
ish, or in the delirium of fever, or simply in order 
to gratify a freakish imagination. You can't, as 
a man of science, defend such a position as that.'* 

For answer the Professor took a book down 
from a shelf. 

"This is an excellent monograph by my gifted 
friend, Ray Lankester!" said he. "There is an 
illustration here which would interest you. Ah, 
yes, here it is! The inscription beneath it runs: 
* Probable appearance in life of the Jurassic Dino- 
saur Stegosaurus. The hind leg alone is twice as 

The Biggest Thing in the World 45 

tall as a full-grown man/ Well, what do you 
make of that?" 

He handed me the open book. I started as I 
looked at the picture. In this reconstructed ani- 
mal of a dead world there was certainly a very 
great resemblance to the sketch of the unknown 

"That is certainly remarkable," said I. 

"But you won't admit that it is final?" 

"Surely it might be a coincidence, or this Ameri- 
can may have seen a picture of the kind and 
carried it in his memory. It would be likely to 
recur to a man in a delirium." 

"Very good," said the Professor, indulgently; 
"we leave it at that. I will now ask you to look 
at this bone." He handed over the one which he 
had already described as part of the dead man's 
possessions. It was about six inches long, and 
thicker than my thumb, with some indications 
of dried cartilage at one end of it. 

"To what known creature does that bone be- 
long?" asked the Professor. 

I examined it with care and tried to recall 
some half-forgotten knowledge. 

"It might be a very thick human collar-bone/ 5 
I said. 

My companion waved his hand in contemptuous 

"The human collar-bone is curved. This is 
straight. There is a groove upon its surface show- 
ing that a great tendon played across it, which 
could not be the case with a clavicle." 

46 The Lost World 

Then I must confess that I don't know what 

it is." 


"You need not be ashamed to expose your 
ignorance, for I don't suppose the whole South 
Kensington staff could give a name to it." He 
took a little bone the size of a bean out of a pill- 
box. " So far as I am a judge this human bone is 
the analogue of the one which you hold in your 
hand. That will give you some idea of the size 
of the creature. You will observe from the 
cartilage that this is no fossil specimen, but recent. 
What do you say to that?' 

" Surely in an elephant - 

He winced as if in pain. 

"Don't! Don't talk of elephants in South 
America. Even in these days of Board schools 


"Well," I interrupted, "any large South Ameri- 
can animal a tapir, for example." 

"You may take it, young man, that I am versed 
in the elements of my business. This is not a 
conceivable bone either of a tapir or of any other 
creature known to zoology. It belongs to a very 
large, a very strong, and, by all analogy, a very 
fierce animal which exists upon the face of the 
earth, but has not yet come under the notice of 
science. You are still unconvinced?" 

"I am at least deeply interested." 

"Then your case is not hopeless. I feel that 
there is reason lurking in you somewhere, so we 
will patiently grope round for it. 

The Biggest Thing in the World 47 

will now leave the dead American and pro- 
ceed with my narrative. You can imagine 
that I could hardly come away from the Amazon 
without probing deeper into the matter. There 
were indications as to the direction from which 
the dead traveler had come. Indian legends 
would alone have been my guide, for I found that 
rumors of a strange land were common among all 
the riverine tribes. You have heard, no doubt, 
of Curupuri?" 


" Curupuri is the spirit of the woods, something 
terrible, something malevolent, something to be 
avoided. None can describe its shape or nature, 
but it is a word of terror along the Amazon. Now 
all tribes agree as to the direction in which Curu- 
puri lives. It was the same direction from which 
the American had come. Something terrible lay 
that way. It was my business to find out what 
it was." 

"What did you do?" My flippancy was all 
gone. This massive man compelled one's atten- 
tion and respect. 

"I overcame the extreme reluctance of the 
natives a reluctance which extends even to talk 
upon the subject and by judicious persuasion 
and gifts, aided, I will admit, by some threats of 
coercion, I got two of them to act as guides. After 
many adventures which I need not describe, and 
after traveling a distance which I will not mention, 
in a direction which I withhold, we came at last 
to a tract of country which has never been de- 

48 The Lost World 

scribed, nor, indeed, visited save by my unfortu- 
nate predecessor. Would you kindly look at this ?" 

He handed me a photograph half-plate size. 

"The unsatisfactory appearance of it is due to 
the fact," said he, "that on descending the river 
the boat was upset and the case which contained the 
undeveloped films was broken, with disastrous 
results. Nearly all of them were totally ruined 
an irreparable loss. This is one of the few 
which partially escaped. This explanation of 
deficiences or abnormalities you will kindly accept. 
There was talk of faking. I am not in a mood to 
argue such a point." 

The photograph was certainly very off-colored. 
An unkind critic might easily have misinterpreted 
that dim surface. It was a dull gray landscape, 
and as I gradually deciphered the details of it I 
realized that it represented a long and enormously 
high line of cliffs exactly like an immense cataract 
seen in the distance, with a sloping, tree-clad plain 
in the foreground. 

"I believe it is the same place as the painted 
picture," said I. 

"It is the same place," the Professor answered. 
"I found traces of the fellow's camp. Now look 
at this." 

It was a nearer view of the same scene, though 
the photograph was extremely defective. I could 
distinctly see the isolated, tree-crowned pinnacle 
of rock which was detached from the crag. 

"I have no doubt of it at all," said I. 

"Well, that is something gained," said he. "We 

The Biggest Thing in the World 49 

progress, do we not? Now, will you please look 
at the top of that rocky pinnacle? Do you 
observe something there?" 

"An enormous tree." 

"But on the tree?" 

"A large bird," said I. 

He handed me a lens. 

"Yes," I said, peering through it, "a large bird 
stands on the tree. It appears to have a consid- 
erable beak. I should say it was a pelican." 

"I cannot congratulate you upon your eyesight," 
said the Professor. "It is not a pelican, nor, 
indeed, is it a bird. It may interest you to know 
that I succeeded in shooting that particular speci- 
men. It was the only absolute proof of my 
experiences which I was able to bring away with 


"You have it, then?" Here at last was tangi- 
ble corroboration. 

"I had it. It was unfortunately lost with so 
much else in the same boat accident which ruined 
my photographs. I clutched at it as it disap- 
peared in the swirl of the rapids, and part of its 
wing was left in my hand. I was insensible when 
washed ashore, but the miserable remnant of my 
superb specimen was still intact; I now lay it 
before you." 

From a drawer he produced what seemed to me 
to be the upper portion of the wing of a large bat. 
It was at least two feet in length, a curved bone, 
with a membranous veil beneath it. 

"A monstrous bat!" I suggested. 

50 The Lost World 

"Nothing of the sort," said the Professor, 
severely. "Living, as I do, in an educated and 
scientific atmosphere, I could not have conceived 
that the first principles of zoology were so little 
known. Is it possible that you do not know the 
elementary fact in comparative anatomy, that 
the wing of a bird is really the forearm, while the 
wing of a bat consists of three elongated fingers 
with membranes between? Now, in this case, the 
bone is certainly not the forearm, and you can see 
for yourself that this is a single membrane hanging 
upon a single bone, and therefore that it cannot 
belong to a bat. But if it is neither bird nor bat, 
what is it?" 

My small stock of knowledge was exhausted. 

"I really do not know," said I. 

He opened the standard work to which he had 
already referred me. 

"Here," said he, pointing to the picture of an 
extraordinary flying monster, "is an excellent 
reproduction of the dimorphodon, or pterodactyl, 
a flying reptile of the Jurassic period. On the next 
page is a diagram of the mechanism of its wing. 
Kindly compare it with the specimen in your 

A wave of amazement passed over me as I 
looked. I was convinced. There could be no 
getting away from it. The cumulative proof was 
overwhelming. The sketch, the photographs, the 
narrative, and now the actual specimen the evi- 
dence was complete. I said so I said so warmly, 
for I felt that the Professor was an ill-used man. 

The Biggest Thing in the World 51 

He leaned back in his chair with drooping eyelids 
and a tolerant smile, basking in this sudden gleam 
of sunshine. 

"It's just the very biggest thing that I ever 
heard of!" said I, though it was my journalistic 
rather than my scientific enthusiasm that was 
roused. "It is colossal. You are a Columbus of 
science who has discovered a lost world. I'm 
awfully sorry if I seemed to doubt you. It was all 
so unthinkable. But I understand evidence when I 
see it, and this should be good enough for anyone." 

The Professor purred with satisfaction. 

"And then, sir, what did you do next?" 

"TT was the wet season, Mr. Malone, and my 
stores were exhausted. I explored some por- 
tion of this huge cliff, but I was unable to find any 
way to scale it. The pyramidal rock upon which 
I saw and shot the pterodactyl was more accessible. 
Being something of a cragsman, I did manage to 
get half way to the top of that. From that 
height I had a better idea of the plateau upon 
the top of the crags. It appeared to be very 
large; neither to east nor to west could I see any 
end to the vista of green-capped cliffs. Below, 
it is a swampy, jungly region, full of snakes, in- 
sects, and fever. It is a natural protection to 
this singular country." 

"Did you see any other trace of life?" 
"No, sir, I did not; but during the week that 
we lay encamped at the base of the cliff we heard 
some very strange noises from above." 

52 The Lost World 

"But the creature that the American drew? 
How do you account for that?" 

"We can only suppose that he must have made 
his way to the summit and seen it there. We 
know, therefore, that there is a way up. We 
know equally that it must be a very difficult one, 
otherwise the creatures would have come down 
and overrun the surrounding country. Surely 
that is clear?" 

"But how did they come to be there?" 

"I do not think that the problem is a very 
obscure one," said the Professor; "there can only 
be one explanation. South America is, as you 
may have heard, a granite continent. At this 
single point in the interior there has been, in some 
far distant age, a great, sudden volcanic upheaval. 
These clirTs, I may remark, are basaltic, and 
therefore plutonic. An area, as large perhaps as 
Sussex, has been lifted up en bloc with all its living 
contents, and cut off by perpendicular precipices 
of a hardness which defies erosion from all the rest 
of the continent. What is the result ? Why, the 
ordinary laws of Nature are suspended. The vari- 
ous checks which influence the struggle for exist- 
ence in the world at large are all neutralized or 
altered. Creatures survive which would other- 
wise disappear. You will observe that both the 
pterodactyl and the stegosaurus are Jurassic, and 
therefore of a great age in the order of life. They 
have been artificially conserved by those strange 
accidental conditions." 

The Biggest Thing in the World 53 

T2UT surely your evidence is conclusive. You 
have only to lay it before the proper author- 


" So, in my simplicity, I had imagined/' said the 
Professor, bitterly. "I can only tell you that it 
was not so, that I was met at every turn by in- 
credulity, born partly of stupidity and partly of 
jealousy. It is not my nature, sir, to cringe to 
any man, or to seek to prove a fact if my word has 
been doubted. After the first I have not conde- 
scended to show such corroborative proofs as I 
possess. The subject became hateful to me I 
would not speak of it. When men like yourself, 
who represent the foolish curiosity of the public, 
came to disturb my privacy I was unable to meet 
them with dignified reserve. By nature I am, I 
admit, somewhat fiery, and under provocation 
I am inclined to be violent. I fear you may have 
remarked it/' 

I nursed my eye and was silent. 

"My wife has frequently remonstrated with me 
upon the subject, and yet I fancy that any man of 
honor would feel the same. To-night, however, 
I propose to give an extreme example of the control 
of the will over the emotions. I invite you to be 
present at the exhibition." He handed me a card 
from his desk. "You will perceive that Mr. Per- 
cival Waldron, a naturalist of some popular repute, 
is announced to lecture at eight-thirty at the 
Zoological Institute's Hall upon 'The Record of 
the Ages.' I have been specially invited to be 
present upon the platform, and to move a vote of 

54 The Lost World 

thanks to the lecturer. While doing so, I shall 
make it my business, with infinite tact and deli- 
cacy, to throw out a few remarks which may 
arouse the interest of the audience and cause some 
of them to desire to go more deeply into the matter. 
Nothing contentious, you understand, but only 
an indication that there are greater deeps beyond. 
I shall hold myself strongly in leash, and see 
whether by this self-restraint I attain a more favor- 
able result." 

"And I may come?" I asked eagerly. 

"Why, surely," he answered, cordially. He had 
an enormously massive genial manner, which was 
almost as overpowering as his violence. His 
smile of benevolence was a wonderful thing, when 
his cheeks would suddenly bunch into two red 
apples, between his half-closed eyes and his great 
black beard. "By all means, come. It will be a 
comfort to me to know that I have one ally in the 
hall, however inefficient and ignorant of the sub- 
ject he may be. I fancy there will be a large 
audience, for Waldron, though an absolute charla- 
tan, has a considerable popular following. Now, 
Mr. Malone, I have given you rather more of my 
time than I had intended. The individual must 
not monopolize what is meant for the world. I 
shall be pleased to see you at the lecture to-night. 
In the meantime, you will understand that no 
public use is to be made of any of the material 
that I have given you." 

"But Mr. McArdle my news editor, you 
know will want to know what I have done." 

The Biggest Thing in the World 55 

"Tell him what you like. You can say, among 
other things, that if he sends anyone else to intrude 
upon me I shall call upon him with a riding-whip. 
But I leave it to you that nothing of all this 
appears in print. Very good. Then the Zoologi- 
cal Institute's Hall at eight-thirty to-night." I 
had a last impression of red cheeks, blue rippling 
beard, and intolerant eyes, as he waved me out 
of the room. 


WHAT with the physical shocks incidental 
to my first interview with Professor 
Challenger and the mental ones which 
accompanied the second, I was a somewhat de- 
moralized journalist by the time I found myself 
in Enmore Park once more. In my aching head 
the one thought was throbbing that there really 
was truth in this man's story, that it was of tre- 
mendous consequence, and that it would work 
up into inconceivable copy for the Gazette when I 
could obtain permission to use it. A taxicab was 
waiting at the end of the road, so I sprang into it 
and drove down to the office. McArdle was at 
his post as usual. 

"Well," he cried, expectantly, "what may it 
run to ? I'm thinking, young man, you have been 
in the wars. Don't tell me that he assaulted you." 
"We had a little difference at first." 
"What a man it is! What did you do?" 
"Well, he became more reasonable and we had 
a chat. But I got nothing out of him nothing 
for publication." 

"I'm not so sure about that. You got a black 
eye out of him, and that's for publication. We 

Question 57 

can't have this reign of terror, Mr. Malone. We 
must bring the man to his bearings. I'll have a 
leaderette on him to-morrow that will raise a blister. 
Just give me the material and I will engage to 
brand the fellow for ever. Professor Munchausen 
how's that for an inset headline? Sir John 
Mandeville redivivus Cagliostro all the im- 
posters and bullies in history. I'll show him up 
for the fraud he is." 

"I wouldn't do that, sir." 

"Why not?" 

" Because he is not a fraud at all." 

"What!" roared McArdle. "You don't mean 
to say you really believe this stuff of his about 
mammoths and mastodons and great sea sair- 

"Well, I don't know about that. I don't think 
he makes any claims of that kind. But I do 
believe he has got something new." 

"Then for Heaven's sake, man, write it up!" 

"I'm longing to, but all I know he gave me in 
confidence and on condition that I didn't." I 
condensed into a few sentences the Professor's 
narrative. "That's how it stands." 

McArdle looked deeply incredulous. 

"Well, Mr. Malone," he said at last, "about 
this scientific meeting to-night; there can be no 
privacy about that, anyhow. I don't suppose 
any paper will want to report it, for Waldron has 
been reported already a dozen times, and no one 
is aware that Challenger will speak. We may get 
a scoop, if we are lucky. You'll be there in any 

58 The Lost World 

case, so you'll just give us a pretty full report. 
I'll keep space up to midnight." 

TV/TY day was a busy one, and I had an early 
dinner at the Savage Club with Tarp Henry, 
to whom I gave some account of my adventures. 
He listened with a sceptical smile on his gaunt 
face, and roared with laughter on hearing that the 
Professor had convinced me. 

"My dear chap, things don't happen like that 
in real life. People don't stumble upon enormous 
discoveries and then lose their evidence. Leave 
that to the novelists. The fellow is as full of 
tricks as the monkey-house at the Zoo. It's all 

"But the American poet?" 

"He never existed." 

"I saw his sketch-book." 

"Challenger's sketch-book." 

"You think he drew that animal?" 

"Of course he did. Who else?" 

"Well, then, the photographs?" 

"There was nothing in the photographs. By 
your own admission you only saw a bird." 

"A pterodactyl." 

"That's what he says. He put the pterodactyl 
into your head." 

"Well, then, the bones?" 

"First one out of an Irish stew. Second one 
vamped up for the occasion. If you are clever 
and know your business you can fake a bone as 
easily as you can a photograph." 

Question 59 

I began to feel uneasy. Perhaps, after all, I 
had been premature in my acquiescence. Then 
I had a sudden happy thought. 

"Will you come to the meeting?" I asked. 

Tarp Henry looked thoughtful. 

"He is not a popular person, the genial Chal- 
lenger," said he. "A lot of people have accounts 
to settle with him. I should say he is about the 
best-hated man in London. If the medical stu- 
dents turn out there will be no end of a rag. I don't 
want to get into a bear-garden." 

"You might at least do him the justice to hear 
him state his own case." 

"Well, perhaps it's only fair. All right. I'm 
your man for the evening." 

we arrived at the hall we found a much 
greater concourse than I had expected. A 
line of electric broughams discharged their little 
cargoes of white-bearded professors, while the 
dark stream of humbler pedestrians, who crowded 
through the arched doorway, showed that the 
audience would be popular as well as scientific. 
Indeed, it became evident to us as soon as we had 
taken our seats that a youthful and even boyish 
spirit was abroad in the gallery and the back por- 
tions of the hall. Looking behind me, I could see 
rows of faces of the familiar medical student type. 
Apparently the great hospitals had each sent 
down their contingent. The behavior of the audi- 
ence at present was good-humored, but mischie- 
vous. Scraps of popular songs were chorused with 

60 The Lost World 

an enthusiasm which was a strange prelude to 
scientific lecture, and there was already a tendency 
to personal chaff which promised a jovial evening 
to others, however embarrassing it might be to 
the recipients of these dubious honors. 

Thus, when old Doctor Meldrum, with his well- 
known curly-brimmed opera-hat, appeared upon 
the platform, there was such a universal query of 
"Where did you get that tile?" that he hurriedly 
removed it, and concealed it furtively under his 
chair. When gouty Professor Wadley limped 
down to his seat there were general affectionate 
inquiries from all parts of the hall as to the exact 
state of his poor toe, which caused him obvious 
embarrassment. The greatest demonstration of 
all, however, was at the entrance of my new ac- 
quaintance, Professor Challenger, when he passed 
down to take his place at the extreme end of the 
front row of the platform. Such a yell of welcome 
broke forth when his black beard first protruded 
round the corner that I began to suspect Tarp 
Henry was right in his surmise, and that this 
assemblage was there not merely for the sake of 
the lecture, but because it had got rumored abroad 
that the famous Professor would take part in the 

There was some sympathetic laughter on his 
entrance among the front benches of well-dressed 
spectators, as though the demonstration of the 
students in this instance was not unwelcome to 
them. That greeting was, indeed, a frightful out- 
burst of sound, the uproar of the carnivora cage 

Question 61 

when the step of the bucket-bearing keeper is 
heard in the distance. There was an offensive 
tone in it, perhaps, and yet in the main it struck 
me as mere riotous outcry, the noisy reception of 
one who amused and interested them, rather than 
of one they disliked or despised. Challenger smiled 
with weary and tolerant contempt, as a kindly 
man would meet the yapping of a litter of puppies. 
He sat slowly down, blew out his chest, passed his 
hand caressingly down his beard, and looked with 
drooping eyelids and supercilious eyes at the 
crowded hall before him. The uproar of his 
advent had not yet died away when Professor 
Ronald Murray, the chairman, and Mr. Waldron, 
the lecturer, threaded their way to the front, and 
the proceedings began. 

Professor Murray will, I am sure, excuse me if 
I say that he has the common fault of most Eng- 
lishmen of being inaudible. Why on earth people 
who have something to say which is worth hearing 
should not take the slight trouble to learn how to 
make it heard is one of the strange mysteries of 
modern life. Their methods are as reasonable 
as to try to pour some precious stuff from the 
spring to the reservoir through a non-conducting 
pipe, which could by the least effort be opened. 
Professor Murray made several profound remarks 
to his white tie and to the water-carafe upon the 
table, with a humorous, twinkling aside to the 
silver candlestick upon his right. Then he sat 
down, and Mr. Waldron, the famous popular 
lecturer, rose amid a general murmur of applause. 

62 The Lost World 

He was a stern, gaunt man, with a harsh voio 
and an aggressive manner, but he had the merit 
of knowing how to assimilate the ideas of other 
men, and to pass them on in a way which was 
intelligible and even interesting to the lay public, 
with a happy knack of being funny about the 
most unlikely objects, so that the precession of the 
Equinox or the formation of a vertebrate became 
a highly humorous process as treated by him. 

It was a bird's-eye view of creation, as inter- 
preted by science, which, in language always clear 
and sometimes picturesque, he unfolded before us. 
He told us of the globe, a huge mass of flaming 
gas, flaring through the heavens. Then he pic- 
tured the solidification, the cooling, the wrinkling 
which formed the mountains, the steam which 
turned to water, the slow preparation of the stage 
upon which was to be played the inexplicable 
drama of life. On the origin of life itself he was 
discreetly vague. That the germs of it could 
hardly have survived the original roasting was, he 
declared, fairly certain. Therefore it had come 
later. Had it built itself out of the cooling, in- 
organic elements of the globe ? Very likely. Had 
the germs of it arrived from outside upon a meteor ? 
It was hardly conceivable. On the whole, the 
wisest man was the least dogmatic upon the point. 
We could not or at least we had not succeeded 
up to date in making organic life in our laboratories 
out of inorganic materials. The gulf between the 
dead and the living was something which our 
chemistry could not as yet bridge. But there 

Question 63 

was a higher and subtler chemistry of Nature, 
which, working with great forces over long epochs, 
might well produce results which were impossible 
for us. There the matter must be left. 

This brought the lecturer to the great ladder of 
animal life, beginning low down in molluscs and 
feeble sea creatures, then up rung by rung through 
reptiles and fishes, till at last we came to a kanga- 
roo-rat, a creature which brought forth its young 
alive, the direct ancestor of all mammals, and 
presumably, therefore, of everyone in the audience. 
("No, no/' from a sceptical student in the back 
row.) If the young gentleman in the red tie who 
cried "No, no," and who presumably claimed to 
have been hatched out of an egg, would wait 
upon him after the lecture, he would be glad to 
see such a curiosity. (Laughter.) It was strange 
to think that the climax of all the age-long process 
of Nature had been the creation of that gentleman 
in the red tie. But had the process stopped? 
Was this gentleman to be taken as the final type 

-the be-all and end-all of development? He 
hoped that he would not hurt the feelings of the 
gentleman in the red tie if he maintained that, 
whatever virtues that gentleman might possess 
in private life, still the vast processes of the uni- 
verse were not fully justified if they were to end 
entirely in his production. Evolution was not a 
spent force, but one still working, and even greater 
achievements were in store. 

Having thus, amid a general titter, played very 
prettily with his interrupter, the lecturer went 

64 The Lost World 

back to his picture of the past, the drying of the 
seas, the emergence of the sand-bank, the sluggish, 
viscous life which lay upon their margins, the 
overcrowded lagoons, the tendency of the sea 
creatures to take refuge upon the mud-flats, the 
abundance of food awaiting them, their consequent 
enormous growth. "Hence, ladies and gentle- 
men," he added, "that frightful brood of saurians 
which still affright our eyes when seen in the 
Wealden or in the Solenhofen slates, but which 
were fortunately extinct long before the first 
appearance of mankind upon this planet." 
"Question!" boomed a voice from the platform. 

TV/TR. WALDRON was a strict disciplinarian 
with a gift of acid humor, as exemplified upon 
the gentleman with the red tie, which made it 
perilous to interrupt him. But this interjection 
appeared to him so absurd that he was at a loss 
how to deal with it. So looks the Shakespearean 
who is confronted by a rancid Baconian, or the 
astronomer who is assailed by a flat-earth fanatic. 
He paused for a moment, and then, raising his 
voice, repeated slowly the words: "Which were 
extinct before the coming of man." 

"Question!" boomed the voice once more. 

Waldron looked with amazement along the line 
of professors upon the platform until his eyes fell 
upon the figure of Challenger, who leaned back in 
his chair with closed eyes and an amused expres- 
sion, as if he were smiling in his sleep. 

"I see!" said Waldron, with a shrug. "It is 

Question 65 

my friend Professor Challenger/' and amid laugh- 
ter he renewed his lecture as if this was a final 
explanation and no more need be said. 

But the incident was far from being closed. 
Whatever path the lecturer took amid the wilds 
of the past seemed invariably to lead him to some 
assertion as to extinct or prehistoric life which 
instantly brought the same bulls' bellow from the 
Professor. The audience began to anticipate it 
and to roar with delight when it came. The 
packed benches of students joined in, and every 
time Challenger's beard opened, before any sound 
could come forth, there was a yell of "Question!" 
from a hundred voices, and an answering counter 
cry of "Order!" and "Shame!" from as many 
more. Waldron, though a hardened lecturer and 
a strong man, became rattled. He hesitated, 
stammered, repeated himself, got snarled in a 
long sentence, and finally turned furiously upon 
the cause of his troubles. 

"This is really intolerable!" he cried, glaring 
across the platform. "I must ask you, Professor 
Challenger, to cease these ignorant and unman- 
nerly interruptions." 

There was a hush over the hall, the students 
rigid with delight at seeing the high gods on 
Olympus quarrelling among themselves. Chal- 
lenger levered his bulky figure slowly out of his 

"I must in turn ask you, Mr. Waldron," he said, 
"to cease to make assertions which are not in 
strict accordance with scientific fact." 

66 The Lost World 

The words unloosed a tempest. "Shame! 
Shame!" "Give him a hearing!" "Put him 
out!" "Shove him off the platform!" "Fair 
play!" emerged from a general roar of amusement 
or execration. The chairman was on his feet 
flapping both his hands and bleating excitedly. 
"Professor Challenger personal - - views - 
later," were the solid peaks above his clouds of 
inaudible mutter. The interrupter bowed, smiled, 
stroked his beard, and relapsed into his chair. 
Waldron, very flushed and warlike, continued his 
observations. Now and then, as he made an 
assertion, he shot a venomous glance at his op- 
ponent, who seemed to be slumbering deeply, 
with the same broad, happy smile upon his face. 

AT last the lecture came to an end I am in- 
clined to think that it was a premature one, 
as the peroration was hurried and disconnected. 
The thread of the argument had been rudely 
broken, and the audience was restless and expect- 
ant. Waldron sat down, and, after a chirrup from 
the chairman, Professor Challenger rose and 
advanced to the edge of the platform. In the 
interests of my paper I took down his speech 

"Ladies and Gentlemen," he began, amid a 
sustained interruption from the back. "I beg 
pardon Ladies, Gentlemen, and Children I 
must apologize, I had inadvertently omitted a 
considerable section of this audience" (tumult, 
during which the Professor stood with one hand 

Question 67 

raised and his enormous head nodding sympa- 
thetically, as if he were bestowing a pontifical 
blessing upon the crowd), "I have been selected 
to move a vote of thanks to Mr. Waldron for the 
very picturesque and imaginative address to 
which we have just listened. There are points 
in it with which I disagree, and it has been my 
duty to indicate them as they arose, but, none 
the less, Mr. Waldron has accomplished his object 
well, that object being to give a simple and in- 
teresting account of what he conceives to have 
been the history of our planet. Popular lectures 
are the easiest to listen to, but Mr. Waldron" 
(here he beamed and blinked at the lecturer) "will 
excuse me when I say that they are necessarily 
both superficial and misleading, since they have 
to be graded to the comprehension of an ignorant 
audience." (Ironical cheering.) "Popular lec- 
turers are in their nature parasitic." (Angry 
gesture of protest from Mr. Waldron.) "They 
exploit for fame or cash the work which has been 
done by their indigent and unknown brethren. 
One smallest new fact obtained in the laboratory, 
one brick built into the temple of science, far 
outweighs ' any second-hand exposition which 
passes an idle hour, but can leave no useful result 
behind it. I put forward this obvious reflection, 
not out of any desire to disparage Mr. Waldron 
in particular, but that you may not lose your 
sense of proportion and mistake the acolyte for 
the high priest." (At this point Mr. Waldron 
whispered to the chairman, who half rose and said 

68 The Lost World 

something severely to his water-carafe.) "But 
enough of this!" (Loud and prolonged cheers.) 
"Let me pass to some subject of wider interest. 
What is the particular point upon which I, as an 
original investigator, have challenged our lecturer's 
accuracy? It is upon the permanence of certain 
types of animal life upon the earth. I do not speak 
upon this subject as an amateur, nor, I may add, 
as a popular lecturer, but I speak as one whose 
scientific conscience compels him to adhere closely 
to facts, when I say that Mr. Waldron is very- 
wrong in supposing that because he has never 
himself seen a so-called prehistoric animal, there- 
fore these creatures no longer exist. They are 
indeed, as he has said, our ancestors, but they are, 
if I may use the expression, our contemporary 
ancestors, who can still be found with all their 
hideous and formidable characteristics if one has 
but the energy and hardihood to seek their haunts. 
Creatures which were supposed to be Jurassic, 
monsters who would hunt down and devour our 
largest and fiercest mammals, still exist." (Cries 
of "Bosh!" "Prove it!" "How do you know?" 
"Question!") "How do I know, you ask me? 
I know because I have visited their secret haunts. 
I know because I have seen some of them." 
(Applause, uproar, and a voice, "Liar!") "Am 
I a liar?" (General hearty and noisy assent.) 
"Did I hear someone say that I was a liar? Will 
the person who called me a liar kindly stand up 
that I may know him?" (A voice, "Here he is, 
sir!" and an inoffensive little person in spectacles, 

Question 69 

struggling violently, was held up among a group 
of students.) "Did you venture to call me a 
liar?" ("No, sir, no!" shouted the accused, and 
disappeared like a Jack-in-the-box.) "If any per- 
son in this hall dares to doubt my veracity, I shall 
be glad to have a few words with him after the 
lecture." ("Liar!") "Who said that?" (Again 
the inoffensive one plunging desperately, was ele- 
vated high into the air.) "If I come down among 
you (General chorus of "Come, love, 
come!" which interrupted the proceedings for 
some moments, while the chairman, standing up 
and waving both his arms, seemed to be conduct- 
ing the music. The Professor, with his face 
flushed, his nostrils dilated, and his beard bristling, 
was now in a proper Berserk mood.) "Every 
great discoverer has been met with the same 
incredulity the sure brand of a generation of 
fools. When great facts are laid before you, you 
have not the intuition, the imagination which 
would help you to understand them. You can 
only throw mud at the men who have risked their 
lives to open new fields to science. You persecute 

the prophets! Galileo, Darwin, and I " 

(Prolonged cheering and complete interruption.) 

A LL this is from my hurried notes taken at the 
time, which give little notion of the absolute 
chaos to which the assembly had by this time been 
reduced. So terrific was the uproar that several 
ladies had already beaten a hurried retreat. Grave 
and reverend seniors seemed to have caught the 

70 The Lost World 

prevailing spirit as badly as the students, and 
saw white-bearded men rising and shaking their 
fists at the obdurate Professor. The whole great 
audience seethed and simmered like a boiling pot. 
The Professor took a step forward and raised both 
his hands. There was something so big and 
arresting and virile in the man that the clatter 
and shouting died gradually away before his 
commanding gesture and his masterful eyes. He 
seemed to have a definite message. They hushed 
to hear it. 

"I will not detain you/' he said. "It is not 
worth it. Truth is truth, and the noise of a num- 
ber of foolish young men and, I fear I must add, 
of their equally foolish seniors cannot affect 
the matter. I claim that I have opened a new 
field of science. You dispute it." (Cheers.) 
"Then I put you to the test. Will you accredit 
one or more of your own number to go out as your 
representatives and test my statement in your 

Mr. Summerlee, the veteran Professor of Com- 
parative Anatomy, rose among the audience, a 
tall, thin, bitter man, with the withered aspect of 
a theologian. He wished, he said, to ask Professor 
Challenger whether the results to which he had 
alluded in his remarks had been obtained during 
a journey to the headwaters of the Amazon made 
by him two years before. 

Professor Challenger answered that they had. 

Mr. Summerlee desired to know how it was that 
Professor Challenger claimed to have made dis- 

Question 71 

coveries in those regions which had been over- 
looked by Wallace, Bates, and other previous 
explorers of established scientific repute. 

Professor Challenger answered that Mr. Sum- 
merlee appeared to be confusing the Amazon with 
the Thames ; that it was in reality a somewhat 
larger river; that Mr. Summerlee might be inter- 
ested to know that with the Orinoco, which com- 
municated with it, some fifty thousand miles of 
country were opened up, and that in so vast a 
space it was not impossible for one person to find 
what another had missed. 

Mr. Summerlee declared, with an acid smile, 
that he fully appreciated the difference between 
the Thames and the Amazon, which lay in the 
fact that any assertion about the former could be 
tested, while about the latter it could not. He 
would be obliged if Professor Challenger would 
give the latitude and the longitude of the 
country in which prehistoric animals were to be 

Professor Challenger replied that he reserved 
such information for good reasons of his own, but 
would be prepared to give it with proper precau- 
tions to a committee chosen from the audience. 
Would Mr. Summerlee serve on such a committee 
and test his story in person? 

Mr. Summerlee: "Yes, I will." (Great cheer- 

Professor Challenger: "Then I guarantee that 
I will place in your hands such material as will 
enable you to find your way. It is only right, 

72 The Lost World 

however, since Mr. Summerlee goes to check my 
statement that I should have one or more with 
him who may check his. I will not disguise from 
you that there are difficulties and dangers. Mr. 
Summerlee will need a younger colleague. May 
I ask for volunteers?" 

TT is thus that the great crisis of a man's life 
springs out at him. Could I have imagined 
when I entered that hall that I was about to 
pledge myself to a wilder adventure than had ever 
come to me in my dreams? But Gladys was 
it not the very opportunity of which she spoke? 
Gladys would have told me to go. I had sprung 
to my feet. I was speaking, and yet I had pre- 
pared no words. Tarp Henry, my companion, 
was plucking at my skirts and I heard him whis- 
pering, " Sit down, Malone ! Don't make a public 
ass of yourself." At the same time I was aware 
that a tall, thin man, with dark gingery hair, a 
few seats in front of me, was also upon his feet. 
He glared back at me with hard angry eyes, but 
I refused to give way. 

"I will go, Mr. Chairman," I kept repeating 
over and over again. 

"Name! Name!" cried the audience. 

"My name is Edward Dunn Malone. I am the 
reporter of the Daily Gazette. I claim to be an 
absolutely unprejudiced witness." 

"What is your name, sir?" the chairman asked 
of my tall rival. 

"I am Lord John Roxton. I have already been 

Question 73 

up the Amazon, I know all the ground, and have 
special qualifications for this investigation." 

"Lord John Roxton's reputation as a sports- 
man and a traveler is, of course, world-famous," 
said the chairman; "at the same time it would 
certainly be as well to have a member of the Press 
upon such an expedition." 

"Then I move," said Professor Challenger, 
"that both these gentlemen be elected, as repre- 
sentatives of this meeting, to accompany Professor 
Summerlee upon his journey to investigate and 
to report upon the truth of my statements." 

And so, amid shouting and cheering, our fate 
was decided, and I found myself borne away in 
the human current which swirled towards the 
door, with my mind half stunned by the vast new 
project which had risen so suddenly before it. 
As I emerged from the hall I was conscious for a 
moment of a rush of laughing students down the 
pavement, and of an arm wielding a heavy um- 
brella, which rose and fell in the midst of them. 
Then, amid a mixture of groans and cheers, Pro- 
fessor Challenger's electric brougham slid from 
the curb, and I found myself walking under the 
silvery lights of Regent Street, full of thoughts of 
Gladys and of wonder as to my future. 

Suddenly there was a touch at my elbow. I 
turned, and found myself looking into the humor- 
ous, masterful eyes of the tall, thin man who had 
volunteered to be my companion on this strange 

"Mr. Malone, I understand," said he. "We 

74 The Lost World 

are to be companions what? My rooms are 
just over the road, in the Albany. Perhaps you 
would have the kindness to spare me half an hour, 
for there are one or two things that I badly want 
to say to you." 


I was the Flail of the Lord 

LORD JOHN ROXTON and I turned down 
Vigo Street together and through the 
dingy portals of the famous aristocratic 
rookery. At the end of a long drab passage my 
new acquaintance pushed open a door and turned 
on an electric switch. A number of lamps shining 
through tinted shades bathed the whole great 
room before us in a ruddy radiance. Standing 
in the doorway and glancing round me, I had a 
general impression of extraordinary comfort and 
elegance combined with an atmosphere of mascu- 
line virility. Everywhere there were mingled the 
luxury of the wealthy man of taste and the careless 
untidiness of the bachelor. Rich furs and strange 
iridescent mats from some Oriental bazaar were 
scattered upon the floor. Pictures and prints 
which even my unpractised eyes could recognize 
as being of great price and rarity hung thick upon 
the walls. Sketches of boxers, of ballet-girls, and 
of racehorses alternated with a sensuous Frag- 
onard, a martial Girardet, and a dreamy Turner. 
But amid these varied ornaments there were 
scattered the trophies which brought back strongly 
to my recollection the fact that Lord John Roxton 

76 The Lost World 

was one of the great all-round sportsmen and 
athletes of his day. A dark-blue oar crossed with 
a cherry-pink one above his mantel-piece spoke 
of the old Oxonian and Leander man, while the 
foils and boxing-gloves above and below them 
were the tools of a man who had won supremacy 
with each. Like a dado round the room was the 
jutting line of splendid heavy game-heads, the 
best of their sort from every quarter of the world, 
with the rare white rhinoceros of the Lado Enclave 
drooping its supercilious lip above them all. 

TN the center of the rich red carpet was a black 
and gold Louis Quinze table, a lovely antique, 
now sacrilegiously desecrated with marks of glasses 
and the scars of cigar-stumps. On it stood a 
silver tray of smokables and a burnished spirit- 
stand, from which and an adjacent siphon my 
silent host proceeded to charge two high glasses. 
Having indicated an arm-chair to me and placed 
my refreshment near it, he handed me a long, 
smooth Havana. Then, seating himself opposite 
to me, he looked at me long and fixedly with his 
strange, twinkling, reckless eyes eyes of a cold 
light blue, the color of a glacier lake. 

Through the thin haze of my cigar-smoke I 
noted the details of a face which was already 
familiar to me from many photographs the 
strongly-curved nose, the hollow, worn cheeks, the 
dark, ruddy hair, thin at the top, the crisp, virile 
moustaches, the small, aggressive tuft upon his 
projecting chin. Something there was of Napo- 

I was the Flail of the Lord 77 

Icon III., something of Don Quixote, and yet again 
something which was the essence of the English 
country gentleman, the keen, alert, open-air lover 
of dogs and of horses. His skin was of a rich 
flower-pot red from sun and wind. His eyebrows 
were tufted and overhanging, which gave those 
naturally cold eyes an almost ferocious aspect, an 
impression which was increased by his strong and 
furrowed brow. In figure he was spare, but very 
strongly built indeed, he had often proved that 
there were few men in England capable of such 
sustained exertions. His height was a little over 
six feet, but he seemed shorter on account of a 
peculiar rounding of the shoulders. Such was the 
famous Lord John Roxton as he sat opposite to 
me, biting hard upon his cigar and watching me 
steadily in a long and embarrassing silence. 

"V/yELL," said he, at last, "we've gone and 
done it, young fellah my lad." (This 
curious phrase he pronounced as if it were all one 
word "young-fellah-me-lad.") "Yes, we've 
taken a jump, you an' me. I suppose, now, when 
you went into that room there was no such notion 
in your head what?" 

"No thought of it." 

"The same here. No thought of it. And here 
we are, up to our necks in the tureen. Why, I've 
only been back three weeks from Uganda, and 
taken a place in Scotland, and signed the lease 
and all. Pretty goin's on what? How does it 
hit you?" 

78 The Lost World 

"Well, it is all in the main line of my business. 
I am a journalist on the Gazette. 99 

"Of course you said so when you took it on. 
By the way, I've got a small job for you, if you'll 
help me." 

"With pleasure." 

"Don't mind takin' a risk, do you?" 

"What is the risk?" 

"Well, it's Ballinger he's the risk. You've 
heard of him?" 


"Why, young fellah, where have you lived? 
Sir John Ballinger is the best gentleman jock in 
the north country. I could hold him on the flat 
at my best, but over jumps he's my master. Well, 
it's an open secret that when he's out of trainin' 
he drinks hard strikin' an average, he calls it. 
He got delirium on Toosday, and has been ragin' 
like a devil ever since. His room is above this. 
The doctors say that it is all up with the old dear 
unless some food is got into him, but as he lies 
in bed with a revolver on his coverlet, and swears 
he will put six of the best through anyone that 
comes near him, there's been a bit of a strike among 
the serving-men. He's a hard nail, is Jack, and 
a dead shot, too, but you can't leave a Grand 
National winner to die like that what?" 

"What do you mean to do, then?" I asked. 

"Well, my idea was that you and I could rush 
him. He may be dozin', and at the worst he can 
only wing one of us, and the other should have 
him. If we can get his bolster-cover round his 

I was the Flail of the Lord 79 

arms and then 'phone up a stomach-pump, we'll 
give the old dear the supper of his life." 

It was a rather desperate business to come sud- 
denly into one's day's work. I don't think that 
I am a particularly brave man. I have an Irish 
imagination which makes the unknown and the 
untried more terrible than they are. On the other 
hand, I was brought up with a horror of cowardice 
and with a terror of such a stigma. I dare say 
that I could throw myself over a precipice, like 
the Hun in the history books, if my courage to do 
it were questioned, and yet it would surely be 
pride and fear, rather than courage, which would 
be my inspiration. Therefore, although every 
nerve in my body shrank from the whisky-mad- 
dened figure which I pictured in the room above, 
I still answered, in as careless a voice as I could 
command, that I was ready to go. Some further 
remark of Lord Roxton's about the danger only 
made me irritable. 

"Talking won't make it any better," said L 
"Come on." 

T ROSE from my chair and he from his. Then 
with a little confidential chuckle of laughter, 
he patted me two or three times on the chest, 
finally pushing me back into my chair. 

"All right, sonny my lad you'll do," said he. 
I looked up in surprise. 

"I saw after Jack Ballinger myself this mornin*. 
He blew a hole in the skirt of my kimono, bless 
his shaky old hand, but we got a jacket on him, 

80 The Lost World 

and he's to be all right in a week. I say, young 
fellah, I hope you don't mind what ? You see, 
between you an' me close-tiled, I look on this 
South American business as a mighty serious thing, 
and if I have a pal with me I want a man I can bank 
on. So I sized you down, and I'm bound to say 
that you came well out of it. You see, it's all 
up to you and me, for this old Summerlee man 
will want dry-nursin' from the first. By the way, 
are you by any chance the Malone who is expected 
to get his Rugby cap for Ireland?" 

"A reserve, perhaps." 

"I thought I remembered your face. Why, I 
was there when you got that try against Rich- 
mond as fine a swervin' run as I saw the whole 
season. I never miss a Rugby match if I can 
help it, for it is the manliest game we have left. 
Well, I didn't ask you in here just to talk sport. 
We've got to fix our business. Here are the 
sailin's, on the first page of the Times. There's 
a Booth boat for Para next Wednesday week, 
and if the Professor and you can work it, I think 
we should take it what? Very good, I'll fix 
it with him. What about your outfit?" 

"My paper will see to that." 

"Can you shoot?" 

"About average Territorial standard." 

"Good Lord! as bad as that? It's the last 
thing you young fellahs think of learnin'. You're 
all bees without stings, so far as lookin' after the 
hive goes. You'lKlook silly, some o' these days, 
when someone comes along an' sneaks the honey. 

I was the Flail of the Lord 81 

But you'll need to hold your gun straight in South 
America, for, unless our friend the Professor is a 
madman or a liar, we may see some queer things 
before we get back. What gun have you?" 

He crossed to an oaken cupboard, and as he 
threw it open I caught a glimpse of glistening 
rows of parallel barrels, like the pipes of an organ. 

"I'll see what I can spare you out of my own 
battery," said he. 

One by one he took out a succession of beautiful 
rifles, opening and shutting them with a snap and 
a clang, and then patting them as he put them 
back into the rack as tenderly as a mother would 
fondle her children. 

"This is a Eland's .577 axite express," said he. 
"I got that big fellow with it." He glanced up at 
the white rhinoceros. "Ten more yards, and he'd 
would have added me to his collection. 

'On that conical bullet his one chance hangs, 
'Tis the weak one's advantage fair/ 

Hope you know your Gordon, for he's the poet 
of the horse and the gun and the man that handles 
both. Now, here's a useful tool .470, telescopic 
sight, double ejector, point-blank up to three- 
fifty. That's the rifle I used against the Peruvian 
slave-drivers three years ago. I was the flail of 
the Lord up in those parts, I may tell you, though 
you won't find it in any Blue-book. There are 
times, young fellah, when every one of us must 
make a stand for human right and justice, or you 
never feel clean again. That's why I made a little 

82 The Lost World 

war on my own. Declared it myself, waged it 
myself, ended it myself. Each of those nicks 
is for a slave murderer a good row of them 
what? That big one is for Pedro Lopez, the king 
of them all, that I killed in a backwater of the 
Putomayo River. Now, here's something that 
would do for you." He took out a beautiful 
brown-and-silver rifle. "Well rubbered at the 
stock, sharply sighted, five cartridges to the clip. 
You can trust your life to that." He handed it 
to me and closed the door of his oak cabinet. 

"~DY the way," he continued, coming back to 
his chair, "what do you know of this Pro- 
fessor Challenger?" 

"I never saw him till to-day." 

"Well, neither did I. It's funny we should 
both sail under sealed orders from a man we don't 
know. He seemed an uppish old bird. His 
brothers of science don't seem too fond of him, 
either. How came you to take an interest in the 

I told him shortly my experiences of the morn- 
ing, and he listened intently. Then he drew out 
a map of South America and laid it on the table. 

"I believe every single word he said to you was 
the truth," said he, earnestly, "and, mind you, I 
have something to go on when I speak like that. 
South America is a place I love, and I think, if you 
take it right through from Darien to Fuego, it's the 
grandest, richest, most wonderful bit of earth upon 
this planet. People don't know it yet, and don't 


I was the Flail of the Lord 83 

realize what it may become. I've been up an* 
down it from end to end, and had two dry seasons 
in those very parts, as I told you when I spoke of 
the war I made on the slave-dealers. Well, when 
I was up there I heard some yarns of the same kind 
traditions of Indians and the like, but with 
somethin' behind them, no doubt. The more you 
knew of that country, young fellah, the more you 
would understand that anythin' was possible 
anythin . There are just some narrow water- 
lanes along which folk travel, and outside that it 
is all darkness. Now, down here in the Matto 
Grande" -he swept his cigar over a part of the 
map - "or up in this corner where three countries 
meet, nothin' would surprise me. As that chap 
said to-night, there are fifty-thousand miles of 
water-way runnin' through a forest that is very 
near the size of Europe. You and I could be as 
far away from each other as Scotland is from 
Constantinople, and yet each of us be in the same 
great Brazilian forest. Man has just made a 
track here and a scrape there in the maze. Why, 
the river rises and falls the best part of forty feet, 
and half the country is a morass that you can't pass 
over. Why shouldn't somethin' new and wonder- 
ful lie in such a country? And why shouldn't we 
be the men to find it out? Besides," he added, 
his queer, gaunt face shining with delight, "there's 
a sportin' risk in every mile of it. I'm like an old 
golf-ball I've had all the white paint knocked 
off me long ago. Life can whack me about now, 
and it can't leave a mark. But a sportin' risk, 

84 The Lost World 

young fellah, that's the salt of existence. Then 
it's worth livin' again. We're all gettin' a deal 
too soft and dull and comfy. Give me the great 
waste lands and the wide spaces, with a gun in my 
fist and somethin' to look for that's worth findin'. 
I've tried war and steeplechasin' and aeroplanes, 
but this huntin' of beasts that look like a lobster- 
supper dream is a brand-new sensation." He 
chuckled with glee at the prospect. 

Perhaps I have dwelt too long upon this new 
acquaintance, but he is to be my comrade for 
many a day, and so I have tried to set him down 
as I first saw him, with his quaint personality 
and his queer little tricks of speech and of thought. 
It was only the need of getting in the account of 
my meeting which drew me at last from his com- 
pany. I left him seated amid his pink radiance, 
oiling the lock of his favorite rifle, while he still 
chuckled to himself at the thought of the adven- 
tures which awaited us. It was very clear to 
me that if dangers lay before us I could not in all 
England have found a cooler head or a braver 
spirit with which to share them. 

HP HAT night, wearied as I was after the wonder- 
ful happenings of the day, I sat late with 
McArdle, the news editor, explaining to him the 
whole situation, which he thought important 
enough to bring next morning before the notice 
of Sir George Beaumont, the chief. It was agreed 
that I should write home full accounts of my 
adventures in the shape of successive letters to 

I was the Flail of the Lord 85 

McArdle, and that these should either be edited 
for the Gazette as they arrived, or held back to 
be published later, according to the wishes of 
Professor Challenger, since we could not yet 
know what conditions he might attach to those 
directions which should guide us to the unknown 
land. In response to a telephone inquiry, we 
received nothing more definite than a fulmination 
against the Press, ending up with the remark that 
if we would notify our boat he would hand us any 
directions which he might think it proper to give 
us at the moment of starting. A second question 
from us failed to elicit any answer at all, save a 
plaintive bleat from his wife to the effect that her 
husband was in a very violent temper already, 
and that she hoped we would do nothing to make 
it worse. A third attempt, later in the day, 
provoked a terrific crash, and a subsequent 
message from the Central Exchange that Professor 
Challenger's receiver had been shattered. After 
that we abandoned all attempt at communication. 

A ND now, my patient readers, I can address 
you directly no longer. From now onwards 
(if, indeed, any continuation of this narrative 
should ever reach you) it can only be through the 
paper which I represent. In the hands of the 
editor I leave this account of the events which 
have led up to one of the most remarkable expe- 
ditions of all time, so that if I never return to 
England there shall be some record as to how the 
affair came about. I am writing these last lines 

86 The Lost World 

in the saloon of the Booth liner Francisca, and 
they will go back by the pilot to the keeping of Mr. 
McArdle. Let me draw one last picture before I 
close the notebook a picture which is the last 
memory of the old country which I bear away with 
me. It is a wet, foggy morning in the late spring; 
a thin, cold rain is falling. Three shining mackin- 
toshed figures are walking down the quay, making 
for the gang-plank of the great liner from which 
the blue-peter is flying. In front of them a porter 
pushes a trolley piled high with trunks, wraps, 
and gun-cases. Professor Summerlee, a long, 
melancholy figure, walks with dragging steps and 
drooping head, as one who is already profoundly 
sorry for himself. Lord John Roxton steps briskly, 
and his thin, eager face beams forth between his 
hunting-cap and his muffler. As for myself, I 
am glad to have got the bustling days of prepara- 
tion and the pangs of leave-taking behind me, 
and I have no doubt that I show it in my bearing. 
Suddenly, just as we reach the vessel, there is a 
shout behind us. It is Professor Challenger, 
who had promised to see us off. He runs after 
us, a puffing, red-faced, irascible figure. 

"No, thank you," says he; "I should much 
prefer not to go aboard. I have only a few words 
to say to you, and they can very well be said 
where we are. I beg you not to imagine that I 
am in any way indebted to you for making this 
journey. I would have you to understand that it 
is a matter of perfect indifference to me, and 
I refuse to entertain the most remote sense of 

I was the Flail of the Lord 87 

personal obligation. Truth is truth, and nothing 
which you can report can affect it in any way, 
though it may excite the emotions and allay the 
curiosity of a number of very ineffectual people. 
My directions for your instruction and guidance 
are in this sealed envelope. You will open it when 
you reach a town upon the Amazon which is called 
Manaos, but not until the date and hour which is 
marked upon the outside. Have I made myself 
clear? I leave the strict observance of my condi- 
tions entirely to your honor. No, Mr. Malone, I 
will place no restriction upon your correspondence, 
since the ventilation of the facts is the object of 
your journey; but I demand that you shall give 
no particulars as to your exact destination, and 
that nothing be actually published until your 
return. Good-bye, sir. You have done some- 
thing to mitigate my feelings for the loathsome 
profession to which you unhappily belong. Good- 
bye, Lord John. Science is, as I understand, a 
sealed book to you; but you may congratulate 
yourself upon the hunting-field which awaits you. 
You will, no doubt, have the opportunity of 
describing in the Field how you brought down 
the rocketing dimorphodon. And good-bye to 
you also, Professor Summerlee. If you are still 
capable of self-improvement, of which I am frankly 
unconvinced, you will surely return to London 

a wiser man." 

So he turned upon his heel, and a minute later 
from the deck I could see his short, squat figure 
bobbing about in the distance as he made his way 

88 The Lost World 

back to his train/ Well, we are well down Channel 
now. There's the last bell for letters, and it's 
good-bye to the pilot. We'll be "down, hull- 
down, on the old trail" from now on. God bless 
all we leave behind us, and send us safely back. 


" To-morrow we Disappear into the Unknown" 

I WILL not bore those whom this narrative 
may reach by an account of our luxurious 
voyage upon the Booth liner, nor will I tell 
of our week's stay at Para (save that I should wish 
to acknowledge the great kindness of the Pereira 
da Pinta Company in helping us to get together 
our equipment). I will also allude very briefly 
to our river journey, up a wide, slow-moving, clay- 
tinted stream, in a steamer which was little smaller 
than that which had carried us across the Atlantic. 
Eventually we found ourselves through the nar- 
rows of Obidos and reached the town of Manaos. 
Here we were rescued from the limited attractions 
of the local inn by Mr. Shortman, the representa- 
tive of the British and Brazilian Trading Company. 
In his hospital Fazenda we spent our time until 
the day when we were empowered to open the 
letter of instructions given to us by Professor 
Challenger. Before I reach the surprising events 
of that date I would desire to give a clearer sketch 
of my comrades in this enterprise, and of the asso- 
ciates whom we had already gathered together in 
South America. I speak freely, and I leave the 
use of my material to your own discretion, Mr. 

90 The Lost World 

McArdle, since it is through your hands that this 
report must pass before it reaches the world. 

HPHE scientific attainments of Professor Sum- 
merlee are too well known for me to trouble 
to recapitulate them. He is better equipped for 
a rough expedition of this sort than one would 
imagine at first sight. His tall, gaunt, stringy 
figure is insensible to fatigue, and his dry, half- 
sarcastic, and often wholly unsympathetic manner 
is uninfluenced by any change in his surroundings. 
Though in his sixty-sixth year, I have never heard 
him express any dissatisfaction at the occasional 
hardships which we have had to encounter. I 
had regarded his presence as an encumbrance to 
the expedition, but, as a matter of fact, I am now 
well convinced that his power of endurance is as 
great as my own. In temper he is naturally 
acid and sceptical. From the beginning he has 
never concealed his belief that Professor Challenger 
is an absolute fraud, that we are all embarked 
upon an absurd wild-goose chase and that we are 
likely to reap nothing but disappointment and 
danger in South America, and corresponding 
ridicule in England. Such are the views which, 
with much passionate distortion of his thin 
features and wagging of his thin, goat-like beard, 
he poured into our ears all the way from South- 
ampton to Manaos. Since landing from the boat 
he has obtained some consolation from the beauty 
and variety of the insect and bird life around him, 
for he is absolutely whole-hearted in his devotion 

We Disappear into the Unknown 91 

to science. He spends his days flitting through 
the woods with his shot-gun and his butterfly-net, 
and his evenings in mounting the many specimens 
he has acquired. Among his minor peculiarities 
are that he is careless as to his attire, unclean 
in his person, exceedingly absent-minded in his 
habits, and addicted to smoking a short briar 
pipe, which is seldom out of his mouth. He has 
been upon several scientific expeditions in his 
youth (he was with Robertson in Papua), and 
the life of the camp and the canoe is nothing fresh 
to him. 

J^ORD JOHN ROXTON has some points in 
common with Professor Summerlee, and others 
in which they are the very antithesis to each other. 
He is twenty years younger, but has something 
of the same spare, scraggy physique. As to his 
appearance, I have, as I recollect, described it in 
that portion of my narrative which I have left 
behind me in London. He is exceedingly neat 
and prim in his ways, dresses always with great 
care in white drill suits and high brown mosquito- 
boots, and shaves at least once a day. Like most 
men of action, he is laconic in speech, and sinks 
readily into his own thoughts, but he is always 
quick to answer a question or join in a conversa- 
tion, talking in a queer, jerky, half-humorous 
fashion. His knowledge of the world, and very 
especially of South America, is surprising, and he 
has a whole-hearted belief in the possibilities of 
our journey which is not to be dashed by the 

92 The Lost World 

sneers of Professor Summerlee. He has a gentle 
voice and a quiet manner, but behind his twinkling 
blue eyes there lurks a capacity for furious wrath 
and implacable resolution, the more dangerous 
because they are held in leash. He spoke little 
of his own exploits in Brazil and Peru, but it 
was a revelation to me to find the excitement 
which was caused by his presence among the 
riverine natives, who looked upon him as their 
champion and protector. The exploits of the 
Red Chief, as they called him, had become legends 
among them, but the real facts, as far as I could 
learn them, were amazing enough. 

These were that Lord John had found himself 
some years before in that no-man's-land which is 
formed by the half-defined frontiers between Peru, 
Brazil, and Columbia. In this great district the 
wild rubber tree flourishes, and has become, as 
in the Congo, a curse to the natives which can 
only be compared to their forced labor under 
the Spaniards upon the old silver mines of Darien. 
A handful of villainous half-breeds dominated 
the country, armed such Indians as would support 
them, and turned the rest into slaves, terrorizing 
them with the most inhuman tortures in order 
to force them to gather the india-rubber, which 
was then floated down the river to Para. Lord 
John Roxton expostulated on behalf of the wretched 
victims, and received nothing but threats and 
insults for his pains. He then formally declared 
war against Pedro Lopez, the leader of the slave- 
drivers, enrolled a band of runaway slaves in 

We Disappear into the Unknown 93 

his service, armed them, and conducted a cam- 
paign, which ended by his killing with his own 
hands the notorious half-breed and breaking 
down the system which he represented. 

No wonder that the ginger-headed man with 
the silky voice and the free and easy manners 
was now looked upon with deep interest upon the 
banks of the great South American river, though 
the feelings he inspired were naturally mixed, 
since the gratitude of the natives was equaled 
by the resentment of those who desired to exploit 
them. One useful result of his former experiences 
was that he could talk fluently in the Lingoa 
Geral, which is the peculiar talk, one-third Portu- 
guese and two-thirds Indian, which is current all 
over Brazil. 

I have said before that Lord John Roxton was 
a South Americomaniac. He could not speak of 
that great country without ardor, and this ardor 
was infectious, for, ignorant as I was, he fixed 
my attention and stimulated my curiosity. How 
I wish I could reproduce the glamor of his dis- 
courses, the peculiar mixture of accurate knowledge 
and of racy imagination which gave them their 
fascination, until even the Professor's cynical 
and sceptical smile would gradually vanish from 
his thin face as he listened. He would tell the 
history of the mighty river so rapidly explored 
(for some of the first conquerors of Peru actually 
crossed the entire continent upon its waters), 
and yet so unknown in regard to all that lay behind 
its ever-changing banks. 

94 The Lost World 

"What is there?" he would cry, pointing to 
the north. "Wood and marsh and impenetrated 
jungle. Who knows what it may shelter? And 
there to the south? A wilderness of swampy 
forest, where no white man has ever been. The 
unknown is up against us on every side. Out- 
side the narrow lines of the rivers what does any- 
one know? Who will say what is possible in such 
a country? Why should old man Challenger 
not be right?" At which direct defiance the 
stubborn sneer would reappear upon Professor 
Summerlee's face, and he would sit, shaking his 
sardonic head in unsympathetic silence, behind 
the cloud of his briar-root pipe. 

CO much, for the moment, for my two white 
companions, whose characters and limitations 
will be further exposed, as surely as my own, as 
this narrative proceeds. But already we have 
enrolled certain retainers who may play no small 
part in what is to come. The first is a gigantic 
negro named Zambo, who is a black Hercules, 
as willing as any horse, and about as intelligent. 
Him we enlisted at Para, on the recommendation 
of the steamship company, on whose vessels he 
had learned to speak a halting English. 

It was at Para also that we engaged Gomez and 
Manuel, two half-breeds from up the river, just 
come down with a cargo of redwood. They were 
swarthy fellows, bearded and fierce, as active 
and wiry as panthers. Both of them had spent 
their lives in those upper waters of the Amazon 

We Disappear into the Unknown 95 

which we were about to explore, and it was this 
recommendation which had caused Lord John to 
engage them. One of them, Gomez, had the 
further advantage that he could speak excellent 
English. These men were willing to act as our 
personal servants, to cook, to row, or to make 
themselves useful in any way at a payment of 
fifteen dollars a month. Besides these, we had 
engaged three Mojo Indians from Bolivia, who 
are the most skilful at fishing and boat work of 
all the river tribes. The chief of these we called 
Mojo, after his tribe, and the others are known 
as Jose and Fernando. Three white men, then, 
two half-breeds, one negro, and three Indians 
made up the personnel of the little expedition 
which lay waiting for its instructions at Manaos 
before starting upon its singular quest. 

AT last, after a weary week, the day had come 
and the hour. I ask you to picture the shaded 
sitting-room of the Fazenda St. Ignatio, two miles 
inland from the town of Manaos. Outside lay 
the yellow, brassy glare of the sunshine, with the 
shadows of the palm trees as black and definite as 
the trees themselves. The air was calm, full of 
the eternal hum of insects, a tropical chorus of 
many octaves, from the deep drone of the bee 
to the high, keen pipe of the mosquito. Beyond 
the veranda was a small cleared garden, bounded 
with cactus hedges and adorned with clumps of 
flowering shrubs, round which the great blue 
butterflies and the tiny humming-birds fluttered 

96 The Lost World 

and darted in crescents of sparkling light. Within 
we were seated round the cane table, on which lay 
a sealed envelope. Inscribed upon it, in the 
jagged handwriting of Professor Challenger, were 
the words : 

"Instructions to Lord John Roxton and party. 
To be opened at Manaos upon July I5th, at 12 o'clock 

Lord John had placed his watch upon the table 
beside him. 

"We have seven more minutes/' said he. "The 
old dear is very precise." 

Professor Summcrlee gave an acid smile as he 
picked up the envelope in his gaunt hand. 

"What can it possibly matter whether we open 
it now or in seven minutes?" said he. "It is all 
part and parcel of the same system of quackery 
and nonsense, for which I regret to say that the 
writer is notorious." 

"Oh, come, we must play the game accordin' 
to rules," said Lord John. "It's old man Chal- 
lenger's show and we are here by his good will, so 
it would be rotten bad form if we didn't follow 
his instructions to the letter." 

"A pretty business it is!" cried the Professor, 
bitterly. "It struck me as preposterous in Lon- 
don, but I'm bound to say that it seems even more 
so upon closer acquaintance. I don't know what 
is inside this envelope, but, unless it is something 
pretty definite, I shall be much tempted to take 
the next down-river boat and catch the Bolivia at 

We Disappear into the Unknown 97 

Para. After all, I have some more responsible 
work in the world than to run about disproving 
the assertions of a lunatic. Now, Roxton, surely 
it is time/' 

"Time it is/' said Lord John. "You can blow 
the whistle." He took up the envelope and cut it 
with his penknife. From it he drew a folded sheet 
of paper. This he carefully opened out and 
flattened on the table. It was a blank sheet. He 
turned it over. Again it was blank. We looked 
at each other in a bewildered silence, which was 
broken by a discordant burst of derisive laughter 
from Professor Summcrlee. 

"It is an open admission," he cried. "What 
more do you want ? The fellow is a self-confessed 
humbug. We have only to return home and 
report him as the brazen imposter that he is." 

"Invisible ink!" I suggested. 

"I don't think!" said Lord Roxton, holding the 
paper to the light. "No, young fellah my lad, 
there is no use deceiving yourself. I'll go bail for 
it that nothing has ever been written upon this 

"May I come in?" boomed a voice from the 

HP HE shadow of a squat figure had stolen across 
the patch of sunlight. That voice! That 
monstrous breadth of shoulder! We sprang to 
our feet with a gasp of astonishment as Challenger, 
in a round, boyish straw-hat with a colored 
ribbon Challenger, with his hands in his jacket- 

98 The Lost World 

pockets and his canvas shoes daintily pointing 
as he walked appeared in the open space before 
us. He threw back his head, and there he stood 
in the golden glow with all his old Assyrian luxuri- 
ance of beard, all his native insolence of drooping 
eyelids and intolerant eyes. 

"I fear," said he, taking out his watch, "that 
I am a few minutes too late. When I gave you 
this envelope I must confess that I had never 
intended that you should open it, for it had been 
my fixed intention to be with you before the hour. 
The unfortunate delay can be apportioned between 
a blundering pilot and an intrusive sandbank. I 
fear that it has given my colleague, Professor 
Summerlee, occasion to blaspheme." 

"I am bound to say, sir," said Lord John, with 
some sternness of voice, "that your turning up is a 
considerable relief to us, for our mission seemed to 
have come to a premature end. Even now I can't 
for the life of me understand why you should have 
worked it in so extraordinary a manner." 

Instead of answering, Professor Challenger 
entered, shook hands with myself and Lord 
John, bowed with ponderous insolence to Professor 
Summerlee, and sank back into a basket-chair, 
which creaked and swayed beneath his weight. 

"Is all ready for your journey?" he asked. 

"We can start to-morrow." 

"Then so you shall. You need no chart of 
directions now, since you will have the inestimable 
advantage of my own guidance. From the first 
I had determined that I would myself preside 

We Disappear into the Unknown 99 

over your investigation. The most elaborate 
charts would, as you will readily admit, be a poor 
substitute for my own intelligence and advice. 
As to the small ruse which I played upon you in 
the matter of the envelope, it is clear that, had I 
told you all my intentions, I should have been 
forced to resist unwelcome pressure to travel out 
with you." 

"Not from me, sir!" exclaimed Professor Sum- 
merlee, heartily. "So long as there was another 
ship upon the Atlantic." 

Challenger waved him away with his great hairy 

" Your common sense will, I am sure, sustain my 
objection and realize that it was better that I 
should direct my own movements and appear 
only at the exact moment when my presence was 
needed. That moment has now arrived. You 
are in safe hands. You will not now fail to reach 
your destination. From henceforth I take com- 
mand of this expedition, and I must ask you to 
complete your preparations to-night, so that we 
may be able to make an early start in the morning. 
My time is of value, and the same thing may be 
said, no doubt, in a lesser degree of your own. I 
propose, therefore, that we push on as rapidly as 
possible, until I have demonstrated what you have 

come to see." 

LORD JOHN ROXTON has chartered a large 

steam launch, the Esmeralda, which was to 

carry us up the river. So far as climate goes, it 

100 The Lost World 

was immaterial what time we chose for our expedi- 
tion, as the temperature ranges from seventy- 
five to ninety degrees both summer and wintex, 
with no appreciable difference in heat. In mois- 
ture, however, it is otherwise; from December to 
May is the period of the rains, and during this 
time the river slowly rises until it attains a height 
of nearly forty feet above its low-water mark. 
It floods the banks, extends in great lagoons over 
a monstrous waste of country, and forms a huge 
district, called locally the Gapo, which is for the 
most part too marshy for foot-travel and too 
shallow for boating. About June the waters begin 
to fall, and are at their lowest at October or 
November. Thus our expedition was at the time 
of the dry season, when the great river and its 
tributaries were more or less in a normal condition. 
The current of the river is a slight one, the drop 
being not greater than eight inches in a mile. No 
stream could be more convenient for navigation, 
since the prevailing wind is south-east, and sailing 
boats may make a continuous progress to the 
Peruvian frontier, dropping down again with the 
current. In our own case the excellent engines 
of the Esmeralda could disregard the sluggish flow 
of the stream, and we made as rapid progress as if 
we were navigating a stagnant lake. For three 
days we steamed north-westwards up a stream 
which even here, a thousand miles from its mouth, 
was still so enormous that from its center the two 
banks were mere shadows upon the distant sky- 
line. On the fourth day after leaving Manaos 

We Disappear into the Unknown 101 

we turned into a tributary which at its mouth was 
little smaller than the main stream. It narrowed 
rapidly, however, and after two more days* 
steaming we reached an Indian village, where the 
Professor insisted that we should land, and that 
the Esmeralda should be sent back to Manaos. 
We should soon come upon rapids, he explained, 
which would make its further use impossible. 
He added privately that we were now approach- 
ing the door of the unknown country, and that 
the fewer whom we took into our confidence the 
better it would be. To this end also he made 
each of us give our word of honor that we would 
publish or say nothing which would give any exact 
clue as to the whereabouts of our travels, while the 
servants were all solemnly sworn to the same effect. 
It is for this reason that I am compelled to be 
vague in my narrative, and I would warn my 
readers that in any map or diagram which I may 
give the relation of places to each other may be 
correct, but the points of the compass are care- 
fully confused, so that in no way can it be taken 
as an actual guide to the country. Professor 
Challenger's reasons for secrecy may be valid or 
not, but we had no choice but to adopt them, for 
he was prepared to abandon the whole expedition 
rather than modify the conditions upon which he 
would guide us. 

TT was August 2nd when we snapped our last 

link with the outer world by bidding farewell 

to the Esmeralda. Since then four days have 

102 The Lost World 

passed, during which we have engaged two large 
canoes from the Indians, made of so light a material 
(skins over a bamboo framework) that we should 
be able to carry them round any obstacle. These 
we have loaded with all our effects, and have 
engaged two additional Indians to help us in the 
navigation. I understand that they are the very 
two Ataca and Ipetu by name who accom- , 
panied Professor Challenger upon his previous 
journey. They appeared to be terrified at the 
prospect of repeating it, but the chief has patri- 
archal powers in these countries, and if the bargain 
is good in his eyes the clansman has little choice 
in the matter. 

So to-morrow we disappear into the unknown. 
This account I am transmitting down the river 
by canoe, and it may be our last word to those 
who are interested in our fate. I have, according 
to our arrangement, addressed it to you, my dear 
Mr. McArdle, and I leave it to your discretion to 
delete, alter, or do what you like with it. From 
the assurance of Professor Challenger's manner 
and in spite of the continued scepticism of Pro- 
,fessor Summerlee I have no doubt that our 
leader will make good his statement, and that we 
are really on the eve of some most remarkable 



" The Outlying Pickets of the New World" 

OUR friends at home may well rejoice with 
Us, for we are at our goal, and up to a 
point, at least, we have shown that the 
statement of Professor Challenger can be verified. 
We have not, it is true, ascended the plateau, 
but it lies before us, and even Professor Sum- 
merlee is in a more chastened mood. Not that 
he will for an instant admit that his rival could 
be right, but he is less persistent in his incessant 
objections, and has sunk for the most part into 
an observant silence. I must hark back, however, 
and continue my narrative from where I dropped 
it. We are sending home one of our local Indians 
who is injured, and I am committing this letter 
to his charge, with considerable doubts in my 
mind as to whether it will ever come to hand. 

When I wrote last we were about to leave the 
Indian village where we had been deposited by 
the Esmeralda. I have to begin my report by 
bad news, for the first serious personal trouble (I 
pass over the incessant bickerings between the 
Professors) occurred this evening, and might have 
had a tragic ending. I have spoken of our English- 

104 The Lost World 

speaking half-breed, Gomez a fine worker and 
a willing fellow, but afflicted, I fancy, with the 
vice of curiosity, which is common enough among 
such men. On the last evening he seems to have 
hid himself near the hut in which we were dis- 
cussing our plans, and, being observed by our 
huge negro Zambo, who is as faithful as a dog and 
has the hatred which all his race bear to the half- 
breeds, he was dragged out and carried into our 
presence. Gomez whipped out his knife, however, 
and but for the huge strength of his captor, which 
enabled him to disarm him with one hand, he 
would certainly have stabbed him. The matter 
has ended in reprimands, the opponents have been 
compelled to shake hands, and there is every hope 
that all will be well. As to the feuds of the two 
learned men, they are continuous and bitter. It 
must be admitted that Challenger is provocative 
in the last degree, but Summerlee has an acid 
tongue, which makes matters worse. Last night 
Challenger said that he never cared to walk on 
the Thames Embankment and look up the river, 
as it was always sad to see one's own eventual 
goal. He is convinced, of course, that he is 
destined for Westminster Abbey. Summerlee re- 
joined, however, with a sour smile, by saying that 
he understood that Millbank Prison had been 
pulled down. Challenger's conceit is too colossal 
to allow him to be really annoyed. He only 
smiled in his beard and repeated "Really! really!" 
in the pitying tone one would use to a child. 
Indeed, they are children both the one wizened 

Pickets of the New World 105 

and cantankerous, the other formidable and 
overbearing, yet each with a brain which has 
put him in the front rank of his scientific 
age. Brain, character, soul only as one sees 
more of life does one understand how distinct 
is each. 

The very next day we did actually make our 
start upon this remarkable expedition. We found 
that all our possessions fitted very easily into the 
two canoes, and we divided our personnel, six in 
each, taking the obvious precaution in the interests 
of peace of putting one Professor into each canoe. 
Personally, I was with Challenger, who was in a 
beatific humor, moving about as one in a silent 
ecstasy and beaming benevolence from every fea- 
ture. I have had some experience of him in other 
moods, however, and shall be the less surprised 
when the thunderstorms suddenly come up amidst 
the sunshine. If it is impossible to be at your 
ease, it is equally impossible to be dull in his com- 
pany, for one is always in a state of half-tremulous 
doubt as to what sudden turn his formidable 
temper may take. 

For two days we made our way up a good-sized 
river, some hundreds of yards broad, and dark in 
color, but transparent, so that one could usually 
see the bottom. The affluents of the Amazon 
are, half of them, of this nature, while the other 
half are whitish and opaque, the difference depend- 
ing upon the class of country through which they 
have flowed. The dark indicate vegetable decay, 
while the others point to clayey soil. Twice we 

106 The Lost World 

came across rapids, and in each case made a 
portage of half a mile or so to avoid them. The 
woods on either side were primeval, which are 
more easily penetrated than woods of the second 
growth, and we had no great difficulty in carrying 
our canoes through them. How shall I ever forget 
the solemn mystery of it ? The height of the trees 
and the thickness of the boles exceeded anything 
which I in my town-bred life could have imagined, 
shooting upwards in magnificent columns until, 
at an enormous distance above our heads, we could 
dimly discern the spot where they threw out their 
side-branches into Gothic upward curves which 
coalesced to form one great matted roof of verdure, 
through which only an occasional golden ray of 
sunshine shot downwards to trace a thin dazzling 
line of light amidst the majestic obscurity. As 
we walked noiselessly amid the thick, soft carpet 
of decaying vegetation the hush fell upon our souls 
which comes upon us in the twilight of the Abbey, 
and even Professor Challenger's full-chested notes 
sank into a whisper. Alone, I should have been 
ignorant of the names of these giant growths, but 
our men of science pointed out the cedars, the 
great silk cotton trees, and the redwood trees, 
with all that profusion of various plants which 
has made this continent the chief supplier to the 
human race of those gifts of Nature which depend 
upon the vegetable world, while it is the most 
backward in those products which come from 
animal life. Vivid orchids and wonderful colored 
lichens smoldered upon the swarthy tree-trunks 

Pickets of the New World 107 

and where a wandering shaft of light fell full upon 
the golden allamanda, the scarlet star-clusters 
of the tacsonia, or the rich deep blue of ipomaea, 
the effect was as a dream of fairyland. In these 
great wastes of forest, life, which abhors darkness, 
struggles ever upwards to the light. Every plant, 
even the smaller ones, curls and writhes to the 
green surface, twining itself round its stronger 
and taller brethren in the effort. Climbing plants 
are monstrous and luxuriant, but others which 
have never been known to climb elsewhere learn 
the art as an escape from that somber shadow, so 
that the common nettle, the jasmine, and even 
the jacitara palm tree can be seen circling the 
stems of the cedars and striving to reach their 
crowns. Of animal life there was no movement 
amid the majestic vaulted aisles which stretched 
from us as we walked, but a constant movement 
far above our heads told of that multitudinous 
world of snake and monkey, bird and sloth, which 
lived in the sunshine, and looked down in wonder 
at our tiny, dark, stumbling figures in the obscure 
depths immeasurably below them. At dawn and 
at sunset the howler monkeys screamed together 
and the parrakeets broke into shrill chapter, but 
during the hot hours of the day only the full drone 
of insects, like the beat of a distant surf, filled 
the ear, while nothing moved amid the solemn 
vistas of stupendous trunks, fading away into the 
darkness which held us in. Once some bandy- 
legged, lurching creature, an ant-eater or a bear, 
scuttled clumsily amid the shadows. It was the 

108 The Lost World 

only sign of earth life which I saw in this great 
Amazonian forest. 

AND yet there were indications that even 
human life itself was not far from us in those 
mysterious recesses. On the third day out we 
were aware of a singular deep throbbing in the air, 
rhythmic and solemn, coming and going fitfully 
throughout the morning. The two boats were 
paddling within a few yards of each other when 
first we heard it, and our Indians remained motion- 
less, as if they had been turned to bronze, listening 
intently with expressions of terror upon their 

"What is it, then?" I asked. 

"Drums," said Lord John, carelessly; "war 
drums. I have heard them before." 

"Yes, sir, war drums," said Gomez, the half- 
breed. "Wild Indians, bra vos, not mansos; they 
watch us every mile of the way; kill us if they 


"How can they watch us?" I asked, gazing 
into the dark, motionless void. 

The half-breed shrugged his broad shoulders. 

"The Indians know. They have their own way. 
They watch us. They talk the drum talk to each 
other. Kill us if they can." 

By the afternoon of that day my pocket diary 
shows me that it was Tuesday, August i8th at 
least six or seven drums were throbbing from 
various points. Sometimes they beat quickly, 
sometimes slowly, sometimes in obvious question 

Pickets of the New World 109 

and answer, one far to the east breaking out in a 
high staccato rattle, and being followed after a 
pause by a deep roll from the north. There was 
something indescribably nerve-shaking and menac- 
ing in that constant mutter, which seemed to 
shape itself into the very syllables of the half- 
breed, endlessly repeated, "We will kill you if we 
can. We will kill you if we can." No one ever 
moved in the silent woods. All the peace and 
soothing of quiet Nature lay in that dark curtain 
of vegetation, but away from behind there came 
ever the one message from our fellow-man. "We 
will kill you if we can," said the men in the east. 
"We will kill you if we can," said the men in the 

All day the drums rumbled and whispered, 
while their menace reflected itself in the faces of 
our colored companions. Even the hardy, swag- 
gering half-breed seemed cowed. I learned, how- 
ever, that day once for all that both Summerlee and 
Challenger possessed that highest type of bravery, 
the bravery of the scientific mind. Theirs was 
the spirit which upheld Darwin among the gauchos 
of the Argentine or Wallace among the head- 
hunters of Malaya. It is decreed by a merciful 
Nature that the human brain cannot think of two 
things simultaneously, so that if it be steeped in 
curiosity as to science it has no room for merely 
personal considerations. All day amid that in- 
cessant and mysterious menace our two Professors 
watched every bird upon the wing, and every 
shrub upon the bank, with many a sharp wordy 

110 The Lost World 

contention, when the snarl of Summerlee came 
quick upon the deep growl of Challenger, but with 
no more sense of danger and no more reference to 
drum-beating Indians than if they were seated 
together in the smoking-room of the Royal Society's 
Club in St. James's Street. Once only did they 
condescend to discuss them. 

"Miranha or Amajuaca cannibals," said Chal- 
lenger, jerking his thumb towards the reverberating 

"No doubt, sir," Summerlee answered. "Like 
all such tribes, I shall expect to find them of poly- 
synthetic speech and of Mongolian type." 

" Polysynthetic certainly," said Challenger, in- 
dulgently. " I am not aware that any other type 
of language exists in this continent, and I have 
notes of more than a hundred. The Mongolian 
theory I regard with deep suspicion." 

"I should have thought that even a limited 
knowledge of comparative anatomy would have 
helped to verify it," said Summerlee, bitterly. 

Challenger thrust out his aggressive chin until 
he was all beard and hat-rim. "No doubt, sir, 
a limited knowledge would have that effect. When 
one's knowledge is exhaustive, one comes to other 
conclusions." They glared at each other in 
mutual defiance, while all round rose the distant 
whisper, "We will kill you we will kill you if 

we can.'' 

That night we moored our canoes with heavy 
stones for anchors in the center of the stream, and 
made every preparation for a possible attack. 



Pickets of the New World 111 

Nothing came, however, and with the dawn we 
pushed upon our way, the drum-beating dying 
out behind us. About three o'clock in the after- 
noon we came to a very steep rapid, more than a 
mile long the very one in which Professor Chal- 
lenger had suffered disaster upon his first journey. 
I confess that the sight of it consoled me, for it 
was really the first direct corroboration, slight as 
it was, of the truth of his story. The Indians 
carried first our canoes and then our stores through 
the brushwood, which is very thick at this point, 
while we four whites, our rifles on our shoulders, 
walked between them and any danger coming from 
the woods. Before evening we had successfully 
passed the rapids, and made our way some ten 
miles above them, where we anchored for the night. 
At this point I reckoned that we had come not less 
than a hundred miles up the tributary from the 
main stream. 

It was in the early forenoon of the next day 
that we made the great departure. Since dawn 
Professor Challenger had been acutely uneasy, 
continually scanning each bank of the river. Sud- 
denly he gave an exclamation of satisfaction and 
pointed to a single tree, which projected at a 
peculiar angle over the side of the stream. 

"What do you make of that?" he asked. 

"It is surely an Assai palm," said Summerlee. 

"Exactly. It was an Assai palm which I took 
for my landmark. The secret opening is half a 
mile onwards upon the other side of the river. 
There is no break ir> the trees. That is the wonder 

112 The Lost World 

and the mystery of it. There where you see light- 
green rushes instead of dark-green undergrowth, 
there between the great cotton woods, that is my 
private gate into the unknown. Push through, 
and you will understand/' 

TT was indeed a wonderful place. Having reached 
the spot marked by a line of light-green rushes, 
we poled out two canoes through them for some 
hundreds of yards, and eventually emerged into 
a placid and shallow stream, running clear and 
transparent over a sandy bottom. It may have 
been twenty yards across, and was banked in on 
each side by most luxuriant vegetation. No one 
who had not observed that for a short distance 
reeds had taken the place of shrubs, could possibly 
have guessed the existence of such a stream or 
dreamed of the fairyland beyond. 

For a fairyland it was the most wonderful 
that the imagination of man could conceive. The 
thick vegetation met overhead, interlacing into 
a natural pergola, and through this tunnel of 
verdure in a golden twilight flowed the green, 
pellucid river, beautiful in itself, but marvelous 
from the strange tints thrown by the vivid light 
from above filtered and tempered in its fall. Clear 
as crystal, motionless as a sheet of glass, green 
as the edge of an iceberg, it stretched in front of 
us under its leafy archway, every stroke of our 
paddles sending a thousand ripples across its 
shining surface. It was a fitting avenue to a land 
of wonders. All sign of the Indians had passed 

Pickets of the New World 113 

away, but animal life was more frequent, and the 
tameness of the creatures showed that they knew 
nothing of the hunter. Fuzzy little black-velvet 
monkeys, with snow-white teeth and gleaming, 
mocking eyes, chattered at us as we passed. With 
a dull, heavy splash an occasional cayman plunged 
in from the bank. Once a dark, clumsy tapir 
stared at us from a gap in the bushes, and then 
lumbered away through the forest; once, too, the 
yellow, sinuous form of a great puma whisked 
amid the brushwood, and its green, baleful eyes 
glared hatred at us over its tawny shoulder. Bird 
life was abundant, especially the wading birds, 
stork, heron, and ibis gathering in little groups, 
blue, scarlet, and white, upon every log which 
jutted from the bank, while beneath us the crystal 
water was alive with fish of every shape and 

For three days we made our way up this tunnel 
of hazy green sunshine. On the longer stretches 
one could hardly tell as one looked ahead where 
the distant green water ended and the distant 
green archway began. The deep peace of this 
strange waterway was unbroken by any sign of 

"No Indian here. Too much afraid. Curu- 
puri," said Gomez. 

"Curupuri is the spirit of the woods," Lord 
John explained. "It's a name for any kind of 
devil. The poor beggars think that there is some- 
thing fearsome in this direction, and therefore 
they avoid it." 

114 The Lost World 

the third day it became evident that our 
journey in the canoes could not last much 
longer, for the stream was rapidly growing more 
shallow. Twice in as many hours we stuck upon 
the bottom. Finally we pulled the boats up 
among the brushwood and spent the night on the 
bank of the river. In the morning Lord John and 
I made our way for a couple of miles through the 
forest, keeping parallel with the stream; but as 
it grew ever shallower we returned and reported, 
what Professor Challenger had already suspected, 
that we had reached the highest point to which 
the canoes could be brought. We drew them up, 
therefore, and concealed them among the bushes, 
blazing a tree with our axes, so that we should 
find them again. Then we distributed the various 
burdens among us guns, ammunition, food, a 
tent, blankets, and the rest and, shouldering 
our packages, we set forth upon the more laborious 
stage of our journey. 

An unfortunate quarrel between our pepperpots 
marked the outset of our new stage. Challenger 
had from the moment of joining us issued direc- 
tions to the whole party, much to the evident 
discontent of Summerlee. Now, upon his assign- 
ing some duty to his fellow-Professor (it was only 
the carrying of an aneroid barometer), the matter 
suddenly came to a head. 

"May I ask, sir," said Summerlee, with vicious 
calm, "in what capacity you take it upon yourself 
to issue these orders?" 

Challenger glared and bristled. 

Pickets of the New World 115 

"I do it, Professor Summerlee, as leader of this 

"I am compelled to tell you, sir, that I do not 
recognize you in that capacity." 

"Indeed!" Challenger bowed with unwieldy 
sarcasm. " Perhaps you would define my exact 

"Yes, sir. You are a man whose veracity is 
upon trial, and this committee is here to try it. 
You walk, sir, with your judges." 

"Dear me!" said Challenger, seating himself 
on the side of one of the canoes. " In that case you 
will, of course, go on your way, and I will follow 
at my lesiure. If I am not the leader you cannot 
expect me to lead." 

Thank heaven that there were two sane men 
Lord John Roxton and myself to prevent the 
petulance and folly of our learned Professors from 
sending us back empty-handed to London. Such 
arguing and pleading and explaining before we 
could get them mollified! Then at last Summer- 
lee, with his sneer and his pipe, would move for- 
wards, and Challenger would come rolling and 
grumbling after. By some good fortune we dis- 
covered about this time that both our savants 
had the very poorest opinion of Dr. Illingworth 
of Edinburgh. Thenceforward that was our one 
safety, and every strained situation was relieved 
by our introducing the name of the Scotch zool- 
ogist, when both our Professors would form a 
temporary alliance and friendship in their detesta- 
tion and abuse of this common rival. 

116 The Lost World 

ADVANCING in single file along the bank of 
the stream, we soon found that it narrowed 
down to a mere brook, and finally that it lost itself 
in a great green morass of sponge-like mosses, 
into which we sank up to our knees. The place 
was horribly haunted by clouds of mosquitoes 
and every form of flying pest, so we were glad 
to find solid ground again and to make a circuit 
among the trees, which enabled us to outflank 
this pestilent morass, which droned like an 
organ in the distance, so loud was it with insect 

On the second day after leaving our canoes we 
found that the whole character of the country 
changed. Our road was persistently upwards, 
and as we ascended the woods became thinner 
and lost their tropical luxuriance. The huge trees 
of the alluvial Amazonian plain gave place to the 
Phoenix and coco palms, growing in scattered 
clumps, with thick brushwood between. In the 
damper hollows the Mauritia palms threw out 
their graceful drooping fronds. We traveled en- 
tirely by compass, and once or twice there were 
differences of opinion between Challenger and the 
two Indians, when, to quote the Professor's indig- 
nant words, the whole party agreed to "trust the 
fallacious instincts of undeveloped savages rather 
than the highest product of modern European 
culture/' That we were justified in doing so was 
shown upon the third day, when Challenger ad- 
mitted that he recognized several landmarks of 
his former journey, and in one spot we actually 

Pickets of the New World 117 

came upon four fire-blackened stones, which must 
have marked a camping-place. 

The road still ascended, and we crossed a rock- 
studded slope which took two days to traverse. 
The vegetation had again changed, and only the 
vegetable ivory tree remained, with a great pro- 
fusion of wonderful orchids, among which I learned 
to recognize the rare Nuttonia Vexillaria and the 
glorious pink and scarlet blossoms of Cattleya 
and odontoglossum. Occasional brooks with peb- 
bly bottoms and fern-draped banks gurgled down 
the shallow gorges in the hill, and offered good 
camping-grounds every evening on the banks of 
some rock-studded pool, where swarms of little 
blue-backed fish, about the size and shape of 
English trout, gave us a delicious supper. 

On the ninth day after leaving the canoes, 
having done, as I reckon, about a hundred and 
twenty miles, we began to emerge from the trees, 
which had grown smaller until they were mere 
shrubs. Their place was taken by an immense 
wilderness of bamboo, which grew so thickly that 
we could only penetrate it by cutting a pathway 
with the machetes and billhooks of the Indians. 
It took us a long day, traveling from seven in the 
morning till eight at night, with only two breaks 
of one hour each, to get through this obstacle. 
Anything more monotonous and wearying could 
not be imagined, for, even at the most open places, 
I could not see more than ten or twelve yards, 
while usually my vision was limited to the back 
of Lord John's cotton jacket in front of me, and 

118 The Lost World 

to the yellow wall within a foot of me on either 
side. From above came one thin knife-edge of 
sunshine, and fifteen feet over our heads one saw 
the tops of the reeds swaying against the deep 
blue sky. I do not know what kind of creatures 
inhabit such a thicket, but several times we heard 
the plunging of large, heavy animals quite close 
to us. From their sounds Lord John judged 
them to be some form of wild cattle. Just as 
night fell we cleared the belt of bamboos, and at 
once formed our camp, exhausted by the inter- 
minable day. j 

Early next morning we were again afoot, and 
found that the character of the country had 
changed once again. Behind us was the wall of 
bamboo, as definite as if it marked the course of a 
river. In front was an open plain, sloping slightly 
upwards and dotted with clumps of tree-ferns, 
the whole curving before us until it ended in a 
long, whale-backed ridge. This we reached about 
midday, only to find a shallow valley beyond, 
rising once again into a gentle incline which led 
to a low, rounded sky-line. It was here, while 
we crossed the first of these hills, that an in- 
cident occurred which may or may not have been 

two local Indians was in the van of the party, 
stopped suddenly and pointed excitedly to the 
right. As he did so we saw, at the distance of a 
mile or so, something which appeared to be a huge 

Pickets of the New World 119 

gray bird flap slowly up from the ground and skim 
smoothly off, flying very low and straight, until 
it was lost among the tree-ferns. 

"Did you see it?" cried Challenger, in exulta- 
tion. "Summerlee, did you see it?" 

His colleague was staring at the spot where the 
creature had disappeared. 

"What do you claim that it was?" he asked. 

"To the best of my belief, a pterodactyl." 

Summerlee burst into derisive laughter "A 
pter-fiddlestick!" said he. "It was a stork, if 
ever I saw one." 

Challenger was too furious to speak. He sim- 
ply swung his pack upon his back and continued 
upon his march. Lord John came abreast of me, 
however, and his face was more grave than was 
his wont. He had his Zeiss glasses in his hand. 

"I focused it before it got over the trees," said 
he. "I won't undertake to say what it was, but I'll 
risk my reputation as a sportsman that it wasn't 
any bird that ever I clapped eyes on in my life." 

So there the matter stands. Are we really just 
at the edge of the unknown, encountering the out- 
lying pickets of this lost world of which our leader 
speaks? I give you the incident as it occurred 
and you will know as much as I do. It stands 
alone, for we saw nothing more which could be 
called remarkable. 

A ND now, my readers, if ever I have any, I have 

brought you up the broad river, and through 

the screen of rushes, and down the green tunnel, 

120 The Lost World 

and up the long slope of palm trees, and through 
the bamboo brake, and across the plain of tree- 
ferns. At last our destination lay in full sight of 
us. When we had crossed the second ridge we 
saw before us an irregular, palm-studded plain, 
and then the line of high red cliffs which I have 
seen in the picture. There it lies, even as I write, 
and there can be no question that it is the same. 
At the nearest point it is about seven miles from 
our present camp, and it curves away, stretching 
as far as I can see. Challenger struts about like 
a prize peacock, and Summerlee is silent, but still 
sceptical. Another day should bring some of 
our doubts to an end. Meanwhile, as Jose*, whose 
arm was pierced by a broken bamboo, insists upon 
returning, I send this letter back in his charge, 
and only hope that it may eventually come to 
hand. I will write again as the occasion serves. 
I have enclosed with this a rough chart of our 
journey, which may have the effect of making 
the account rather easier to understand. 



"Who could have Foreseen it?" 

A)READFUL thing has happened to us. 
Who could have foreseen it ? I cannot fore- 
see any end to our troubles. It may be that 
we are condemned to spend our whole lives in this 
strange, inaccessible place. I am still so confused 
that I can hardly think clearly of the facts of the 
present or of the chances of the future. To my 
astounded senses the one seems most terrible and 
the other as black as night. 

No men have ever found themselves in a worse 
position ; nor is there any use in disclosing to you 
our exact geographical situation and asking our 
friends for a relief party. Even if they could send 
one, our fate will in all human probability be 
decided long before it could arrive in South 

We are, in truth, as far from any human aid 
as if we were in the moon. If we are to win 
through, it is only our own qualities which can save 
us. I have as companions three remarkable men, 
men of great brain-power and of unshaken cour- 
age. There lies our one and only hope. It is 
only when I look upon the untroubled faces of 

122 The Lost World 

my comrades that I see some glimmer through 
the darkness. Outwardly I trust that I appear 
as unconcerned as they. Inwardly I am filled 
with apprehension. 

Let me give you, with as much detail as I can, 
the sequence of events which have led us to this 

When I finished my last letter I stated that we 
were within seven miles from an enormous line 
of ruddy cliffs, which encircled, beyond all doubt, 
the plateau of which Professor Challenger spoke. 
Their height, as we approached them, seemed to 
me in some places to be greater than he had stated 

running up in parts to at least a thousand feet 

and they were curiously striated, in a manner 
which is, I believe, characteristic of basaltic up- 
heavals. Something of the sort is to be seen in 
Salisbury Crags at Edinburgh. The summit showed 
every sign of a luxuriant vegetation, with bushes 
near the edge, and farther back many high trees. 
There was no indication of any life that we could 

That night we pitched our camp immediately 
under the cliff a most wild and desolate spot. 
The crags above us were not merely perpendicular, 
but curved outwards at the top, so that ascent 
was out of the question. Close to us was the high 
thin pinnacle of rock which I believe I mentioned 
earlier in this narrative. It is like a broad red 
church spire, the top of it being level with the 
plateau, but a great chasm gaping between. On 
the summit of it there grew one high tree. Both 

Who Could have Foreseen it? 123 

pinnacle and cliff were comparatively low some 
five or six hundred feet, I should think. 

"It was on that," said Professor Challenger, 
pointing to this tree, "that the pterodactyl was 
perched. I climbed half-way up the rock before 
I shot him. I am inclined to think that a good 
mountaineer like myself could ascend the rock 
to the top, though he would, of course, be no 
nearer to the plateau when he had done so." 

As Challenger spoke of his pterodactyl I glanced 
at Professor Summerlee, and for the first time I 
seemed to see some signs of a dawning credulity 
and repentance. There was no sneer upon his 
thin lips, but, on the contrary, a gray, drawn look 
of excitement and amazement. Challenger saw 
it, too, and reveled in the first taste of victory. 

"Of course," said he, with his clumsy and pon- 
derous sarcasm, " Professor Summerlee will under- 
stand that when I speak of a pterodactyl I mean 
a stork only it is the kind of stork which has 
no feathers, a leathery skin, membranous wings, 
and teeth in its jaws." He grinned and blinked 
and bowed until his colleague turned and walked 

TN the morning, after a frugal breakfast of coffee 
and manioc we had to be economical of our 
stores we held a council of war as to the best 
method of ascending to the plateau above us. 

Challenger presided with a solemnity as if he 
were the Lord Chief Justice on the Bench. Picture 
him seated upon a rock, his absurd boyish straw 

124 The Lost World 

hat tilted on the back of his head, his supercilious 
eyes dominating us from under his drooping lids, 
his great black beard wagging as he slowly defined 
our present situation and our future movements. 

Beneath him you might have seen the three of 
us myself, sunburnt, young, and vigorous after 
our open-air tramp; Summerlee, solemn but still 
critical, behind his eternal pipe ; Lord John, as keen 
as a razor-edge, with his supple, alert figure leaning 
upon his rifle, and his eager eyes fixed eagerly 
upon the speaker. Behind us were grouped the 
two swarthy half-breeds and the little knot of 
Indians, while in front and above us towered 
those huge, ruddy ribs of rocks which kept us 
from our goal. 

"I need not say/' said our leader, "that on the 
occasion of my last visit I exhausted every means 
of climbing the cliff, and where I failed I do not 
think that anyone else is likely to succeed, for I 
am something of a mountaineer. I had none of 
the appliances of a rock-climber with me, but I 
have taken the precaution to bring them now. 
With their aid I am positive I could climb that 
detached pinnacle to the summit; but so long as 
the main cliff overhangs, it is vain to attempt 
ascending that. I was hurried upon my last visit 
by the approach of the rainy season and by the 
exhaustion of my supplies. These considerations 
limited my time, and I can only claim that I have 
surveyed about six miles of the cliff to the east of 
us, finding no possible way up. What, then, 
shall we now do?" 

Who Could have Foreseen it? 125 

"There seems to be only one reasonable course/' 
said Professor Summerlee. "If you have explored 
the east, we should travel along the base of the 
cliff to the west, and seek for a practicable point 
for our ascent." 

"That's it," said Lord John. "The odds are that 
this plateau is of no great size, and we shall travel 
round it until we either find an easy way up it, 
or come back to the point from which we started" 

"I have already explained to our young friend 
here," said Challenger (he has a way of alluding 
to me as if I were a school child ten years old), 
"that it is quite impossible that there should be 
an easy way up anywhere, for the simple reason 
that if there were the summit would not be isolated, 
and those conditions would not obtain which have 
effected so singular an interference with the 
general laws of survival. Yet I admit that there 
may very well be places where an expert human 
climber may reach the summit, and yet a cum- 
brous and heavy animal be unable to descend. 
It is certain that there is a point where an ascent 
is possible." 

"How do you know that, sir?" asked Summer- 
lee, sharply. 

"Because my predecessor, the American Maple 
White, actually made such an ascent. How 
otherwise could he have seen the monster which 
he sketched in his notebook?" 

"There you reason somewhat ahead of the 
proved facts," said the stubborn Summerlee. "I 
admit your plateau, because I have seen it; but 

126 The Lost World 

I have not as yet satisfied myself that it contains 
any form of life whatever." 

"What you admit, sir, or what you do not admit, 
is really of inconceivably small importance. I 
am glad to perceive that the plateau itself has 
actually obtruded itself upon your intelligence." 
He glanced up at it, and then, to our amazement, 
he sprang from his rock, and, seizing Summerlee 
by the neck, he tilted his face into the air. "Now 
sir!" he shouted, hoarse with excitement. "Do 
I help you to realize that the plateau contains 
some animal life?" 

T HAVE said that a thick fringe of green overhung 
the edge of the cliff. Out of this there had 
emerged a black, glistening object. As it came 
slowly forth and overhung the chasm, we saw that 
it was a very large snake with a peculiar flat, 
spade-like head. It wavered and quivered above 
us for a minute, the morning sun gleaming upon 
its sleek, sinuous coils. Then it slowly drew 
inwards and disappeared. 

Summerlee had been so interested that he had 
stood unresisting while Challenger tilted his head 
into the air. Now he shook his colleague off and 
came back to his dignity. 

"I should be glad, Professor Challenger," said 
he, "if you could see your way to make any 
remarks which may occur to you without seizing 
me by the chin. Even the appearance of a very 
ordinary rock python does not appear to justify 
such a liberty." 

Who Could have Foreseen it? 127 

" But there is life upon the plateau all the same," 
his colleague replied in triumph. "And now, 
having demonstrated this important conclusion 
so that it is clear to anyone, however prejudiced 
or obtuse, I am of opinion that we cannot do 
better than break up our camp and travel to 
westward until we find some means of ascent." 

The ground at the foot of the cliff was rocky 
and broken so that the going was slow and diffi- 
cult. Suddenly we came, however, upon some- 
thing which cheered our hearts. It was the 
site of an old encampment, with several empty 
Chicago meat tins, a bottle labeled "Brandy," 
a broken tin-opener, and a quantity of other 
travelers' debris. A crumpled, disintegrated news- 
paper revealed itself as the Chicago Democrat, 
though the date had been obliterated. 

"Not mine," said Challenger. "It must be 
Maple White's." 

Lord John had been gazing curiously at a great 
tree-fern which overshadowed the encampment. 
"I say, look at this," said he. "I believe it is 
meant for a sign-post." 

A slip of hard wood had been nailed to the tree 
in such a way as to point to the westward. 

"Most certainly a sign-post," said Challenger. 
"What else? Finding himself upon a dangerous 
errand, our pioneer has left this sign so that any 
party which follows him may know the way he has 
taken. Perhaps we shall come upon some other 
indications as we proceed." 

We did indeed, but they were of a terrible and 

128 The Lost World 

most unexpected nature. Immediately beneath 
the cliff there grew a considerable patch of high 
bamboo, like that which we had traversed in our 
journey. Many of these stems were twenty feet 
high, with sharp, strong tops, so that even as they 
stood they made formidable spears. We were 
passing along the edge of this cover when my eye 
was caught by the gleam of something white 
within it. Thrusting in my head between the 
stems, I found myself gazing at a fleshless skull. 
The whole skeleton was there, but the skull had 
detached itself and lay some feet nearer to the 

With a few blows from the machetes of our 
Indians we cleared the spot and were able to study 
the details of this old tragedy. Only a few shreds 
of clothes could still be distinguished, but there 
were the remains of boots upon the bony feet, 
and it was very clear that the dead man was a 
European. A gold watch by Hudson, of New 
York, and a chain which held a stylographic pen, 
lay among the bones. There was also a silver 
cigarette-case, with "J. C., from A. E. S.," upon 
the lid. The state of the metal seemed to show 
that the catastrophe had occurred no great time 

"Who can he be?" asked Lord John. "Poor 
devil! every bone in his body seems to be 

"And the bamboo grows through his smashed 
ribs," said Summerlee. "It is a fast-growing 
plant, but it is surely inconceivable that this body 

Who Could have Foreseen it? 129 

could have been here while the canes grew to be 
twenty feet in length." 

"As to the man's identity/' said Professor Chal- 
lenger, "I have no doubt whatever upon that 
point. As I made my way up the river before I 
reached you at the fazenda I instituted very par- 
ticular inquiries about Maple White. At Para 
they knew nothing. Fortunately, I had a definite 
clew, for there was a particular picture in his 
sketch-book which showed him taking lunch with 
a certain ecclesiastic at Rosario. This priest I 
was able to find, and though he proved a very 
argumentative fellow, who took it absurdly amiss 
that I should point out to him the corrosive effect 
which modern science must have upon his beliefs, 
he none the less gave me some positive informa- 
tion. Maple White passed Rosario four years 
ago, or two years before I saw his dead body. He 
was not alone at the time, but there was a friend, 
an American named James Colver, who remained 
in the boat and did not meet this ecclesiastic. 
I think, therefore, that there can be no doubt 
that we are now looking upon the remains of this 
James Colver. " 

"Nor," said Lord John, "is there much doubt 
as to how he met his death. He has fallen or 
been chucked from the top, and so been impaled. 
How else could he come by his broken bones, and 
how could he have been stuck through by these 
canes with their points so high above our heads?" 

A hush came over us as we stood round these 
shattered remains and realized the truth of Lord 

130 The Lost World 

John Roxton's words. The beetling head of the 
cliff projected over the cane-brake. Undoubtedly 
he had fallen from above. But had he fallen? 
Had it been an accident? Or already ominous 
and terrible possibilities began to form round that 
unknown land. 

We moved off in silence, and continued to coast 
round the line of cliffs, which were as even and 
unbroken as some of those monstrous Antarctic 
ice-fields which I have seen depicted as stretch- 
ing from horizon to horizon and towering high 
above the mast-heads of the exploring vessel. 

TN five miles we saw no rift or break. And then 
suddenly we perceived something which filled 
us with new hope. In a hollow of the rock, pro- 
tected from rain, there was drawn a rough arrow 
in chalk, pointing still to the westwards. 

"Maple White again," said Professor Challenger. 
"He had some presentiment that worthy foot- 
steps would follow close behind him." 

"He had chalk, then?" 

"A box of colored chalks was among the effects 
I found in his knapsack. I remember that the 
white one was worn to a stump." 

"That is certainly good evidence," said Sum- 
merlee. "We can only accept his guidance and 
follow on to the westward." 

We had proceeded some five more miles when 
again we saw a white arrow upon the rocks. It 
was at a point where the face of the cliff was for 
the first time split into a narrow cleft. Inside the 

Who Could have Foreseen it? 131 

cleft was a second guidance mark, which pointed 
right up it with the tip somewhat elevated, as if 
the spot indicated were above the level of the 

It was a solemn place, for the walls were so 
gigantic and the slit of blue sky so narrow and so 
obscured by a double fringe of verdure, that only 
a dim and shadowy light penetrated to the bot- 
tom. We had had no food for many hours, and 
were very weary with the stony and irregular 
journey, but our nerves were too strung to allow 
us to halt. We ordered the camp to be pitched, 
however, and, leaving the Indians to arrange it, 
we four, with the two half-breeds, proceeded up 
the narrow gorge. 

It was not more than forty feet across at the 
mouth, but it rapidly closed until it ended in an 
acute angle, too straight and smooth for an ascent. 
Certainly it was not this which our pioneer had 
attempted to indicate. We made our way back 
the whole gorge was not more than a quarter 
of a mile deep and then suddenly the quick 
eyes of Lord John fell upon what we were seeking. 
High up above our heads, amid the dark shadows, 
there was one circle of deeper gloom. Surely it 
could only be the opening of a cave. 

The base of the cliff was heaped with loose 
stones at the spot, and it was not difficult to 
clamber up. When we reached it, all doubt was 
removed. Not only was it an opening into the 
rock, but on the side of it there was marked once 
again the sign of the arrow. Here was the point, 

132 The Lost World 

and this the means by which Maple White and 
his ill-fated comrade had made their ascent. 

were too excited to return to the camp, but 
must make our first exploration at once. 
Lord John had an electric torch in his knapsack, 
and this had to serve us as light. He advanced, 
throwing his little clear circlet of yellow radiance 
before him, while in single file we followed at his 

The cave had evidently been water-worn, the 
sides being smooth and the floor covered with 
rounded stones. It was of such a size that a single 
man could just fit through by stooping. For fifty 
yards it ran almost straight into the rock, and then 
it ascended at an angle of forty-five. Presently 
this incline became even steeper, and we found 
ourselves climbing upon hands and knees among 
loose rubble which slid from beneath us. Sud- 
denly an exclamation broke from Lord Roxton. 

"It's blocked!" said he. 

Clustering behind him we saw in the yellow 
field of light a wall of broken basalt which 
extended to the ceiling. 

"The roof has fallen in!" 

In vain we dragged out some of the pieces. 
The only effect was that the larger ones became 
detached and threatened to roll down the gradient 
and crush us. It was evident that the obstacle 
was far beyond any efforts which we could make 
to remove it. The road by which Maple White 
had ascended was no longer available. 


Who Could have Foreseen it? 133 

Too much cast down to speak, we stumbled 
down the dark tunnel and made our way back 
to the camp. 

ONE incident occurred, however, before we 
left the gorge, which is of importance in 
view of what came afterwards. 

We had gathered in a little group at the bottom 
of the chasm, some forty feet beneath the mouth 
of the cave, when a huge rock rolled suddenly 
downwards and shot past us with tremendous 
force. It was the narrowest escape for one or 
all of us. We could not ourselves see whence the 
rock had come, but our half-breed servants, who 
were still at the opening of the cave, said that it 
had flown past them, and must therefore have 
fallen from the summit. Looking upwards, we 
could see no sign of movement above us amidst 
the green jungle which topped the cliff. There 
could be little doubt, however, that the stone was 
aimed at us, so the incident surely pointed to 
humanity and malevolent humanity upon 
the plateau. 

We withdrew hurriedly from the chasm, our 
minds full of this new development and its bearing 
upon our plans. The situation was difficult 
enough before, but if the obstructions of Nature 
were increased by the deliberate opposition of 
man, then our case was indeed a hopeless one. 
And yet, as we looked up at that beautiful fringe 
of verdure only a few hundreds of feet above our 
heads, there was not one of us who could conceive 

134 The Lost World 

the idea of returning to London until we had 
explored it to its depths. 

On discussing the situation, we determined that 
our best course was to continue to coast round 
the plateau in the hope of finding some other 
means of reaching the top. The line of cliffs, 
which had decreased considerably in height, had 
already begun to trend from west to north, and 
if we could take this as representing the arc of a 
circle, the whole circumference could not be very 
great. At the worst, then, we should be back in 
a few days at our starting-point. 

We made a march that day which totaled some 
two-and-twenty miles, without any change in 
our prospects. I may mention that our aneroid 
shows us that in the continual incline which we 
have ascended since we abandoned our canoes we 
have risen to no less than three thousand feet 
above sea-level. Hence there is a considerable 
change both in the temperature and in the vege- 
tation. We have shaken off some of that horrible 
insect life which is the bane of tropical travel. 
A few palms still survive, and many tree-ferns, 
but the Amazonian trees have been all left behind. 
It was pleasant to see the convolvulus, the passion- 
flower, and the begonia, all reminding me of 
home, here among these inhospitable rocks. There 
was a red begonia just the same color as one that 
is kept in a pot in the window of a certain villa 
in Streatham but I am drifting into private 

Who Could have Foreseen it? 135 

'"PHAT night I am still speaking of the first 

day of our circumnavigation of the plateau 

-a great experience awaited us, and one which 

for ever set at rest any doubt which we could 

have had as to the wonders so near us. 

You will realize as you read it, my dear Mr. 
McArdle, and possibly for the first time that the 
paper has not sent me on a wild-goose chase, and 
that there is inconceivably fine copy waiting for 
the world whenever we have the Professor's leave 
to make use of it. I shall not dare to publish 
these articles unless I can bring back my proofs 
to England, or I shall be hailed as the journalistic 
Munchausen of all time. I have no doubt that 
you feel the same way yourself, and that you 
would not care to stake the whole credit of the 
Gazette upon this adventure until we can meet the 
chorus of criticism and scepticism which such 
articles must of necessity elicit. So this wonder- 
ful incident, which would make such a headline 
for the old paper, must still wait its turn in the 
editorial drawer. 

And yet it was all over in a flash, and there was 
no sequel to it, save in our own convictions. 

What occurred was this. Lord John had shot 
an ajouti which is a small, pig-like animal 
and, half of it having been given to the Indians, 
we were cooking the other half upon our fire. 
There is a chill in the air after dark, and we had 
all drawn close to the blaze. The night was 
moonless, but there were some stars, and one could 
see for a little distance across the plain. Well, 

136 The Lost World 

suddenly out of the darkness, out of the night, 
there swooped something with a swish like an 
aeroplane. The whole group of us were covered 
for an instant by a canopy of leathery wings, and 
I had a momentary vision of a long, snake-like 
neck, a fierce, red, greedy eye, and a great snap- 
ping beak, filled, to my amazement, with little, 
gleaming teeth. The next instant it was gone 
and so was our dinner. A huge black shadow, 
twenty feet across, skimmed up into the air; for 
an instant the monster wings blotted out the 
stars, and then it vanished over the brow of the 
cliff above us. We all sat in amazed silence round 
the fire, like the heroes of Virgil when the Harpies 
came down upon them. It was Summerlee who 
was the first to speak. 

" Professor Challenger," said he, in a solemn 
voice, which quavered with emotion, "I owe you 
an apology. Sir, I am very much in the wrong, 
and I beg that you will forget what is past." 

It was handsomely said, and the two men for 
the first time shook hands. So much we have 
gained by this clear vision of our first pterodactyl. 
It was worth a stolen supper to bring two such 
men together. 

T2UT if prehistoric life existed upon the plateau 
it was not superabundant, for we had no 
further glimpse of it during the next three days. 
During this time we traversed a barren and for- 
bidding country, which alternated between stony 
desert and desolate marshes full of many wild- 

Who Could have Foreseen it? 137 

fowl, upon the north and east of the cliffs. From 
that direction the place is really inaccessible, and, 
were it not for a hardish ledge which runs at the 
very base of the precipice, we should have had to 
turn back. Many times we were up to our waists 
in the slime and blubber of an old, semi-tropical 
swamp. To make matters worse, the place seemed 
to be a favorite breeding-place of the Jaracaca 
snake, the most venomous and aggressive in South 
America. Again and again these horrible crea- 
tures came writhing and springing towards us 
across the surface of this putrid bog, and it was 
only by keeping our shot-guns for ever ready that 
we could feel safe from them. One funnel-shaped 
depression in the morass, of a livid green in color 
from some lichen which festered in it, will always 
remain as a nightmare memory in my mind. It 
seems to have been a special nest of these vermins, 
and the slopes were alive with them, all writhing 
in our direction, for it is a peculiarity of the 
Jaracaca that he will always attack man at first 
sight. There were too many for us to shoot, so 
we fairly took to our heels and ran until we were 
exhausted. I shall always remember as we looked 
back how far behind we could see the heads and 
necks of our horrible pursuers rising and falling 
amid the reeds. Jaracaca Swamp we named it in 
the map which we are constructing. 

The cliffs upon the farther side had lost their 
ruddy tint, being chocolate-brown in color; the 
vegetation was more scattered along the top of 
them, and they had sunk to three or four hundred 

138 The Lost World 

feet in height, but in no plax:e did we find any 
point where they could be ascended. If anything, 
they were more impossible than at the first point 
where we had met them. Their absolute steep- 
ness is indicated in the photograph which I took 
over the stony desert. 

"Surely," said I, as we discussed the situation, 
"the rain must find its way down somehow. There 
are bound to be water-channels in the rocks." 

"Our young friend has glimpses of lucidity," said 
Professor Challenger, patting me upon the shoul- 

: 'The rain must go somewhere," I repeated. 

"He keeps a firm grip upon actuality. The 
only drawback is that we have conclusively proved 
by ocular demonstration that there are no water 
channels down the rocks." 

"Where, then, does it go?" I persisted. 

"I think it may be fairly assumed that if it 
does not come outwards it must run inwards." 

"Then there is a lake in the center." 

"So I should suppose." 

"It is more than likely that the lake may be an 
old crater," said Summerlee. "The whole forma- 
tion is, of course, highly volcanic. But, however 
that may be, I should expect to find the surface 
of the plateau slope inwards with a considerable 
sheet of water in the center, which may drain off, 
by some subterranean channel, into the marshes 
of the Jaracaca Swamp." 

"Or evaporation might preserve an equilib- 
rium," remarked Challenger, and the two learned 

Who Could have Foreseen it? 139 

men wandered off into one of their usual scientific 
arguments, which were as comprehensible as 
Chinese to the layman. 

the sixth day we completed our first circuit 
of the cliffs, and found ourselves back at 
the first camp, beside the isolated pinnacle of 
rock. We were a disconsolate party, for nothing 
could have been more minute than our investi- 
gation, and it was absolutely certain that there 
was no single point where the most active human 
being could possibly hope to scale the cliff. The 
place which Maple White's chalk-marks had 
indicated as his own means of access was now 
entirely impassable. 

What were we to do now? Our stores of pro- 
visions, supplemented by our guns, were holding 
out well, but the day must come when they would 
need replenishment. In a couple of months the 
rains might be expected, and we should be washed 
out of our camp. The rock was harder than 
marble, and any attempt at cutting a path for so 
great a height was more than our time or resources 
would admit. No wonder that we looked gloom- 
ily at each other that night, and sought our blank- 
ets with hardly a word exchanged. I remember 
that as I dropped off to sleep my last recollection 
was that Challenger was squatting, like a mon- 
strous bull-frog, by the fire, his huge head in his 
hands, sunk apparently in the deepest thought, 
and entirely oblivious to the good-night which I 
wished him. 

140 The Lost World 

But it was a very different Challenger who 
greeted us in the morning a Challenger with 
contentment and self-congratulation shining from 
his whole person. He faced us as we assembled 
for breakfast with a deprecating false modesty in 
his eyes, as who should say, " I know that I deserve 
all that you can say, but I pray you to spare my 
blushes by not saying it." His beard bristled 
exultantly, his chest was thrown out, and his hand 
was thrust into the front of his jacket. So, in 
his fancy, may he see himself sometimes, gracing 
the vacant pedestal in Trafalgar Square, and 
adding one more to the horrors of the London 

"Eureka!" he cried, his teeth shining through 
his beard. "Gentlemen, you may congratulate 
me and we may congratulate each other* The 
problem is solved." 

"You have found a way up?" 

"I venture to think so." 

"And where?" 

For answer he pointed to the spire-like pinnacle 
upon our right. 

Our faces or mine, at least fell as we sur- 
veyed it. That it could be climbed we had our 
companion's assurance. But a horrible abyss lay 
between it and the plateau. 

"We can never get across," I gasped. 

"We can at least all reach the summit," said he. 
"When we are up I may be able to show you that 
the resources of an inventive mind are not yet 

Who Could have Foreseen it? 141 

A FTER breakfast we unpacked the bundle in 
which our leader had brought his climbing 
accessories. From it he took a coil of the strong- 
est and lightest rope, a hundred and fifty feet in 
length, with climbing irons, clamps, and other 
devices. Lord John was an experienced moun- 
taineer, and Summerlee had done some rough 
climbing at various times, so that I was really 
the novice at rock-work of the party; but my 
strength and activity may have made up for my 
want of experience. 

It was not in reality a very stiff task, though 
there were moments which made my hair bristle 
upon my head. The first half was perfectly easy, 
but from there upwards it became continually 
steeper until, for the last fifty feet, we were 
literally clinging with our fingers and toes to tiny 
ledges and crevices in the rock. I could not have 
accomplished it, nor could Summerlee, if Chal- 
lenger had not gained the summit (it was extra- 
ordinary to see such activity in so unwieldy a 
creature) and there fixed the rope round the trunk 
of the considerable tree which grew there. With 
this as our support, we were soon able to scramble 
up the jagged wall until we found ourselves 
upon the small grassy platform, some twenty-five 
feet each way, which formed the summit. 

The first impression which I received when I 
had recovered my breath was of the extraordinary 
view over the country which we had traversed. 
The whole Brazilian plain seemed to lie beneath 
us, extending away and away until it ended in 

142 The Lost World 

dim blue mists upon the farthest sky-line. In 
the foreground was the long slope, strewn with 
rocks and dotted with tree-ferns; farther off in 
the middle distance, looking over the saddle- 
back hill, I could just see the yellow and green 
mass of bamboos through which we had passed; 
and then, gradually, the vegetation increased 
until it formed the huge forest which extended as 
far as the eyes could reach, and for a good two 
thousand miles beyond. 

I was still drinking in this wonderful panorama 
when the heavy hand of the Professor fell upon 
my shoulder. 

"This way, my young friend," said he; "vestigia 
nulla retrorsum. Never look rearwards, but 
always to our glorious goal." 

The level of the plateau, when I turned, was 
exactly that on which we stood, and the green 
bank of bushes, with occasional trees, was so near 
that it was difficult to realize how inaccessible it 
remained. At a rough guess the gulf was forty 
feet across, but, so far as I could see, it might as 
well have been forty miles. I placed one arm 
round the trunk of the tree and leaned over the 
abyss. Far down were the small dark figures of 
our servants, looking up at us. The wall was 
absolutely precipitous, as was that which faced 

"TPHIS is indeed curious," said the creaking 

voice of Professor Summerlee. 
I turned, and found that he was examining with 

Who Could have Foreseen it? 143 

great interest the tree to which I clung. That 
smooth bark and those small, ribbed leaves seemed 
familiar to my eyes. "Why," I cried, "it's a 

"Exactly," said Summerlee. "A fellow-coun- 
tryman in a far land." 

"Not only a fellow-countryman, my good sir," 
said Challenger, "but also, if I may be allowed to 
enlarge your simile, an ally of the first value. 
This beech tree will be our saviour." 

"By George!" cried Lord John, "a bridge!" 

"Exactly, my friends, a bridge! It is not for 
nothing that I expended an hour last night in 
focusing my mind upon the situation. I have 
some recollection of once remarking to our young 
friend here that G. E. C. is at his best when his 
back is to the wall. Last night you will admit 
that all our backs were to the wall. But where 
will-power and intellect go together, there is 
always a way out. A drawbridge had to be found 
which could be dropped across the abyss. Behold 

It was certainly a brilliant idea. The tree was 
a good sixty feet in height, and if it only fell the 
right way it would easily cross the chasm. Chal- 
lenger had slung the camp axe over his shoulder 
when he ascended. Now he handed it to me. 

"Our young friend has the thews and sinews," 
said he. "I think he will be the most useful at 
this task. I must beg, however, that you will 
kindly refrain from thinking for yourself, and 
that you will do exactly what you are told." 

144 The Lost World 

Under his direction I cut such gashes in the 
sides of the trees as would ensure that it should 
fall as we desired. It had already a strong, 
natural tilt in the direction of the plateau, so that 
the matter was not difficult. Finally I set to 
work in earnest upon the trunk, taking turn and 
turn with Lord John. In a little over an hour 
there was a loud crack, the tree swayed forward, 
and then crashed over, burying its branches among 
the bushes on the farther side. The severed trunk 
rolled to the very edge of our platform, and for 
one terrible second we all thought it was over. 
It balanced itself, however, a few inches from the 
edge, and there was our bridge to the unknown. 

All of us, without a word, shook hands with 
Professor Challenger, who raised his straw hat 
and bowed deeply to each in turn. 

"I claim the honor," said he, "to be the first 
to cross to the unknown land a fitting subject, 
no doubt, for some future historical painting/' 

had approached the bridge when Lord John 
laid his hand upon his coat. 

"My dear chap/' said he, "I really cannot 
allow it." 

"Cannot allow it, sir!" The head went back 
and the beard forward. 

"When it is a matter of science, don't you know, 
I follow your lead because you are by way of 
bein' a man of science. But it's up to you to 
follow me when you come into my department." 

"Your department, sir?" 

Who Could have Foreseen it? 145 

"We all have our professions, and soldierin' is 
mine. We are, accordin' to my ideas, invadin' a 
new country, which may or may not be chock- 
full of enemies of sorts. To barge blindly into it 
for want of a little common sense and patience 
isn't my notion of management." 

The remonstrance was too reasonable to be 
disregarded. Challenger tossed his head and 
shrugged his heavy shoulders. 

"Well, sir, what do you propose?" 

"For all I know there may be a tribe of canni- 
bals waitin' for lunch-time among those very 
bushes," said Lord John, looking across the bridge. 
"It's better to learn wisdom before you get into a 
cookin'-pot; so we will content ourselves with 
hopin* that there is no trouble waitin' for us, and 
at the same time we will act as if there were. 
Malone and I will go down again, therefore, and 
we will fetch up the four rifles, together with Gomez 
and the other. One man can then go across and 
the rest will cover him with guns, until he sees 
that it is safe for the whole crowd to come along." 

Challenger sat down upon the cut stump and 
groaned his impatience; but Summerlee and I 
were of one mind that Lord John was our leader 
when such practical details were in question. The 
climb was a more simple thing now that the rope 
dangled down the face of the worst part of the 
ascent. Within an hour we had brought up the 
rifles and a shot-gun. The half-breeds had as- 
cended also, and under Lord John's orders they 
had carried up a bale of provisions in case our 

146 The Lost World 

first exploration should be a long one. We had 
each bandoliers of cartridges. 

"Now, Challenger, if you really insist upon 
being the first man in/' said Lord John, when 
every preparation was complete. 

"I am much indebted to you for your gracious 
permission," said the angry Professor; for never 
was a man so intolerant of every form of authority. 
"Since you are good enough to allow it, I shall 
most certainly take it upon myself to act as 
pioneer upon this occasion." 

EATING himself with a leg overhanging the 
abyss on each side, and his hatchet slung 
upon his back, Challenger hopped his way across 
the trunk and was soon at the other side. He 
clambered up and waved his arms in the air. 

"At last!" he cried; "at last!" 

I gazed anxiously at him, with a vague ex- 
pectation that some terrible fate would dart at 
him from the curtain of green behind him. But 
all was quiet, save that a strange, many-colored 
bird flew up from under his feet and vanished 
among the trees. 

Summerlee was the second. His wiry energy 
is wonderful in so frail a frame. He insisted upon 
having two rifles slung upon his back, so that both 
Professors were armed when he had made his 
transit. I came next, and tried hard not to look 
down into the horrible gulf over which I was 
passing. Summerlee held out the butt-end of 
his rifle, and an instant later I was able to grasp 

Who Could have Foreseen it? 147 

his hand. As to Lord John, he walked across 
actually walked without support! He must have 
nerves of iron. 

And there we were, the four of us, upon the 
dreamland, the lost world, of Maple White. To 
all of us it seemed the moment of our supreme 
triumph. Who could have guessed that it was 
the prelude to our supreme disaster ? Let me say 
in a few words how the crushing blow fell upon 

had turned away from the edge, and had 
penetrated about fifty yards of close brush- 
wood, when there came a frightful rending crash 
from behind us. With one impulse we rushed 
back the way that we had come. The bridge was 

Far down at the base of the cliff I saw, as I 
looked over, a tangled mass of branches and splin- 
tered trunk. It was our beech tree. Had the 
edge of the platform crumbled and let it through ? 
For a moment this explanation was in all our 
minds. The next, from the farther side of the 
rocky pinnacle before us a swarthy face, the face 
of Gomez the half-breed, was slowly protruded. 
Yes, it was Gomez, but no longer the Gomez of 
the demure smile and the mask-like expression. 
Here was a face with flashing eyes and distorted 
features, a face convulsed with hatred and with 
the mad joy of gratified revenge. 

"Lord Roxton!" he shouted. "Lord John 

148 The Lost World 

"Well," said our companion, "here I am." 

A shriek of laughter came across the abyss. 

"Yes, there you are, you English dog, and there 
you will remain! I have waited and waited, and 
now has come my chance. You found it hard to 
get up ; you will find it harder to get down. You 
cursed fools, you are trapped, every one of you!" 

We were too astounded to speak. We could 
only stand there staring in amazement. A great 
broken bough upon the grass showed whence he 
had gained his leverage to tilt over our bridge. 
The face had vanished, but presently it was up 
again, more frantic than before. 

"We nearly killed you with a stone at the cave," 
he cried; "but this is better. It is slower and 
more terrible. Your bones will whiten up there, 
and none will know where you lie or come to cover 
them. As you lie dying, think of Lopez, whom 
you shot five years ago on the Putomayo River. 
I am his brother, and, come what will Lwill die 
happy now, for his memory has been avenged." 
A furious hand was shaken at us, and then all 
was quiet. 

Had the half-breed simply wrought his ven- 
geance and then escaped, all might have been well 
with him. It was that foolish, irresistible Latin 
impulse to be dramatic which brought his own 
downfall. Roxton, the man who had earned him- 
self the name of the Flail of the Lord through 
three countries, was not one who could be safely 
taunted. The half-breed was descending on the 
farther side of the pinnacle; but before he could 


Who Could have Foreseen it? 149 

reach the ground Lord John had run along the 
edge of the plateau and gained a point from which 
he could see his man. There was a single crack 
of his rifle, and, though we saw nothing, we heard 
the scream and then the distant thud of the 
falling body. Roxton came back to us with a 
face of granite. 

"I have been a blind simpleton," said he, bit- 
terly. "It's my folly that has brought you all 
into this trouble. I should have remembered 
that these people have long memories for blood- 
feuds, and have been more upon my guard. " 

"What about the other one? It took two of 
them to lever that tree over the edge." 

"I could have shot him, but I let him go. He 
may have had no part in it. Perhaps it would 
have been better if I had killed him, for he must, 
as you say, have lent a hand." 

Now that we had the clue to his action, each of 
us could cast back and remember some sinister 
act upon the part of the half-breed his constant 
desire to know our plans, his arrest outside our 
tent when he was over-hearing them, the furtive 
looks of hatred which from time to time one or 
other of us had surprised. We were still discuss- 
ing it, endeavoring to adjust our minds to these 
new conditions, when a singular scene in the plain 
below arrested our attention. 

A man in white clothes, who could only be the 
surviving half-breed, was running as one does run 
when Death is the pacemaker. Behind him, only 
a few yards in his rear, bounded the huge ebony 

150 The Lost World 

figure of Zambo, our devoted negro. Even as we 
looked, he sprang upon the back of the fugitive 
and flung his arms round his neck. They rolled 
on the ground together. An instant afterwards 
Zambo rose, looked at the prostrate man, and 
then, waving his hand joyously to us, came running 
in our direction. The white figure lay motionless 
in the middle of the great plain. 


R two traitors had been destroyed, but the 
mischief that they had done lived after them. 
By no possible means could we get back to the 
pinnacle. We had been natives of the world; 
now we were natives of the plateau. The two 
things were separate an,d apart. There was the 
plain which led to the canoes. Yonder, beyond 
the violet, hazy horizon, was the stream which led 
back to civilization. But the link between was 
missing. No human ingenuity could suggest a 
means of bridging the chasm which yawned be- 
tween ourselves and our past lives. One instant 
had altered the whole conditions of our existence. 

It was at such a moment that I learned the stuff 
of which my three comrades were composed. They 
were grave, it is true, and thoughtful, but of an 
invincible serenity. For the moment we could 
only sit among the bushes in patience and wait the 
coming of Zambo. Presently his honest black 
face topped the rocks and his Herculean figure 
emerged upon the top of the pinnacle. 

"What I do now?" he cried. " You tell me and 
I do it." 

Who Could have Foreseen it? 151 

It was a question which it was easier to ask than 
to answer. One thing only was clear. He was 
our one trusty link with the outside world. On 
no account must he leave us. 

"No, no!" he cried. "I not leave you. What- 
ever come, you always find me here. But no able 
to keep Indians. Already they say too much 
Curupuri live on this place, and they go home. 
Now you leave them me no able to keep them." 

It was a fact that our Indians had shown in 
many ways of late that they were weary of their 
journey and anxious to return. We realized that 
Zambo spoke the truth, and that it would be 
impossible for him to keep them. 

"Make them wait till to-morrow, Zambo," I 
shouted; "then I can send letter back by them." 

"Very good, sarr! I promise they wait till to- 
morrow," said the negro. " But what I do for you 

There was plenty for him to do, and admirably 
the faithful fellow did it. First of all, under our 
directions, he undid the rope from the tree-stump 
and threw one end of it across to us. It was not 
thicker than a clothes-line, but it was of great 
strength, and though we could not make a bridge 
of it, we might well find it invaluable if we had 
any climbing to do. He then fastened his end 
of the rope to the package of supplies which had 
been carried up, and we were able to drag it 
across. This gave us the means of life for at 
least a week, even if we found nothing else. Finally 
he descended and carried up two other packets of 

152 The Lost World 

mixed goods a box of ammunition and a number 
of other things, all of which we got across by 
throwing our rope to him and hauling it back. 
It was evening when he at last climbed down, with 
a final assurance that he would keep the Indians 
till next morning. 

A ND so it is that I have spent nearly the whole 
of this our first night upon the plateau writing 
up our experiences by the light of a single candle- 

We supped and camped at the very edge of the 
cliff, quenching our thirst with two bottles of Apol- 
linaris which were in one of the cases. It is vital 
to us to find water, but I think even Lord John 
himself had had adventures enough for one day, 
and none of us felt inclined to make the first push 
into the unknown. We forbore to light a fire or 
to make any unnecessary sound. 

To-morrow (or to-day, rather, for it is already 
dawn as I write) we shall make our first venture 
into this strange land. When I shall be able to 
write again or if I ever shall write again--! 
know not. Meanwhile, I can see that the Indians 
are still in their place, and I am sure that the faith- 
ful Zambo will be here presently to get my letter. 
I only trust that it will come to hand. 

P.S. The more I think the more desperate 
does our position seem. I see no possible hope 
of our return. If there were a high tree near the 
edge of the plateau we might drop a return bridge 

Who Could have Foreseen it? 153 

across, but there is none within fifty yards. Our 
united strength could not carry a trunk which 
would serve our purpose. The rope, of course, is 
far too short that we could descend by it. No, our 
position is hopeless hopeless! 


" The most Wonderful Things have Happened" 

THE most wonderful things have happened 
and are continually happening to us. 
All the paper that I possess consists of 
five old note-books and a lot of scraps, and I have 
only the one stylographic pencil; but so long as I 
can move my hand I will continue to set down our 
experiences and impressions, for, since we are the 
only men of the whole human race to see such 
things, it is of enormous importance that I should 
record them whilst they are fresh in my memory 
and before that fate which seems to be constantly 
impending does actually overtake us. Whether 
Zambo can at last take these letters to the river, 
or whether I shall myself in some miraculous way 
carry them back with me, or, finally, whether 
some daring explorer, coming upon our tracks 
with the advantage, perhaps, of a perfected mono- 
plane, should find this bundle of manuscript, in any 
case I can see that what I am writing is destined 
to immortality as a classic of true adventure. 

the morning after our being trapped upon 
the plateau by the villainous Gomez we began 
a new stage in our experiences. The first incident 

Wonderful Things Happened 155 

in it was not such as to give me a very favorable 
opinion of the place to which we had wandered. 
As I roused myself from a short nap after day 
had dawned, my eyes fell upon a most singular 
appearance upon my own leg. My trouser had 
slipped up, exposing a few inches of my skin above 
my sock. On this there rested a large, purplish 
grape. Astonished at the sight, I leaned forward 
to pick it off, when, to my horror, it burst between 
my finger and thumb, squirting blood in every 
direction. My cry of disgust had brought the 
two professors to my side. 

"Most interesting," said Summerlee, bending 
over my shin. "An enormous blood-tick, as yet, 
I believe, unclassified." 

"The first-fruits of our labors," said Challenger 
in his booming, pedantic fashion. "We cannot 
do less than call it Ixodes Maloni. The very small 
inconvenience of being bitten, my young friend, 
cannot, I am sure, weigh with you as against the 
glorious privilege of having your name inscribed 
in the deathless roll of zoology. Unhappily you 
have crushed this fine specimen at the moment of 


"Filthy vermin!" I cried. 

Professor Challenger raised his great eyebrows 
in protest, and placed a soothing paw upon my 

"You should cultivate the scientific eye and 
the detached scientific mind," said he. "To a 
man of philosophic temperament like myself the 
blood-tick, with its lancet-like proboscis and its 

156 The Lost World 

distending stomach, is as beautiful a work of 
Nature as the peacock or, for that matter, the 
aurora borealis. It pains me to hear you speak 
of it in so unappreciative a fashion. No doubt, 
with due diligence, we can secure some other 

" There can be no doubt of that," said Sum- 
merlee, grimly, "for one has just disappeared 
behind your shirt-collar." 

Challenger sprang into the air bellowing like a 
bull, and tore frantically at his coat and shirt to 
get them off. Summerlee and I laughed so that 
we could hardly help him. At last we exposed 
that monstrous torso (fifty-four inches, by the 
tailor's tape). His body was all matted with 
black hair, out of which jungle we picked the 
wandering tick before it had bitten him. But 
the bushes round were full of the horrible pests, 
and it was clear that we must shift our camp. 

BUT first of all it was necessary to make our 
arrangements with the faithful negro, who ap- 
peared presently on the pinnacle with a number 
of tins of cocoa and biscuits, which he tossed over 
to us. Of the stores which remained below he was 
ordered to retain as much as would keep him 
for two months. The Indians were to have the 
remainder as a reward for their services and as 
payment for taking our letters back to the Ama- 
zon. Some hours later we saw them in single 
file far out upon the plain, each with a bundle on 
his head, making their way back along the path 

Wonderful Things Happened 157 

we had come. Zambo occupied our little tent at 
the base of the pinnacle, and there he remained, 
our one link with the world below. 

And now we had to decide upon our immediate 
movements. We shifted our position from among 
the tick-laden bushes until we came to a small 
clearing thickly surrounded by trees upon all sides. 
There were some flat slabs of rock in the center, 
with an excellent well close by, and there we sat 
in cleanly comfort while we made our first plans 
for the invasion of this new country. Birds were 
calling among the foliage especially one with a 
peculiar whooping cry which was new to us but 
beyond these sounds there were no signs of life. 

Our first care was to make some sort of list of 
our own stores, so that we might know what we 
had to rely upon. What with the things we had 
ourselves brought up and those which Zambo had 
sent across on the rope, we were fairly well sup- 
plied. Most important of all, in view of the 
dangers which might surround us, we had our 
four rifles and one thousand three hundred rounds, 
also a shot-gun, but not more than a hundred and 
fifty medium pellet cartridges. In the matter of 
provisions we had enough to last for several weeks, 
with a sufficiency of tobacco and a few scientific 
implements, including a large telescope and a good 
field-glass. All these things we collected together 
in the clearing, and as a first precaution, we cut 
down with our hatchet and knives a number of 
thorny bushes, which we piled round in a circle 
some fifteen yards in diameter. This was to be 

158 The Lost World 

our headquarters for the time our place of refuge 
against sudden danger and the guard-house for 
our stores. Fort Challenger, we called it. 

TT was midday before we had made ourselves 

secure, but the heat was not oppressive, and 
the general character of the plateau, both in its 
temperature and in its vegetation, was almost 
temperate. The beech, the oak, and even the 
birch were to be found among the tangle of trees 
which girt us in. One huge gingko tree, topping 
all the others, shot its great limbs and maidenhair 
foliage over the fort which we had constructed. 
In its shade we continued our discussion, while 
Lord John, who had quickly taken command in 
the hour of action, gave us his views. 

"So long as neither man nor beast has seen or 
heard us, we are safe," said he. " From the time 
they know we are here our troubles begin. There 
are no signs that they have found us out as yet. 
So our game surely is to lie low for a time and spy 
out the land. We want to have a good look at 
our neighbors before we get on visitin' terms/' 

" But we must advance," I ventured to remark. 

"By all means, sonny my boy! We will ad- 
vance. But with common sense. We must never 
go so far that we can't get back to our base. Above 
all, we must never, unless it is life or death, fire 
off our guns." 

"But you fired yesterday," said Summerlee. 

"Well, it couldn't be helped. However, the 
wind was strong and blew outwards. It is not 

Wonderful Things Happened 159 

likely that the sound could have traveled far into 
the plateau. By the way, what shall we call this 
place ? I suppose it is up to us to give it a name ?" 

,There were several suggestions, more or less 
happy, but Challenger's was final. 

"It can only have one name," said he. "It 
is called after the pioneer who discovered it. It 
is Maple White Land." 

Maple White Land it became, and so it is named 
in that chart which has become my special task. 
So it will, I trust, appear in the atlas of the future. 

The peaceful penetration of Maple White Land 
was the pressing subject before us. We had the 
evidence of our own eyes that the place was in- 
habited by some unknown creatures, and there 
was that of Maple White's sketch-book to show 
that more dreadful and more dangerous monsters 
might still appear. That there might also prove 
to be human occupants and that they were of a 
malevolent character was suggested by the skele- 
ton impaled upon the bamboos, which could not 
have got there had it not been dropped from above. 
Our situation, stranded without possibility of 
escape in such a land, was clearly full of danger, 
and our reasons endorsed every measure of caution 
which Lord John's experience could suggest. Yet 
it was surely impossible that we should halt on the 
edge of this world of mystery when our very souls 
were tingling with impatience to push forward 
and to pluck the heart from it. 

We therefore blocked the entrance to our zareba 
by filling it up with several thorny bushes, and left 

160 The Lost World 

our camp with the stores entirely surrounded 
by this protecting hedge. We then slowly and 
cautiously set forth into the unknown, following 
the course of the little stream which flowed from 
our spring, as it should always serve us as a guide 
on our return. 

J-TARDLY had we started when we came across 
signs that there were indeed wonders awaiting 
us. After a few hundred yards of thick forest, con- 
taining many trees which were quite unknown to 
me, but which Summerlee, who was the botanist 
of the party, recognized as forms of conifera and of 
cycadaceous plants which have long passed away 
in the world below, we entered a region where the 
stream widened out and formed a considerable 
bog. High reeds of a peculiar type grew thickly 
before us, which were pronounced to be equise- 
tacea, or mare's-tails, with tree-ferns scattered 
amongst them, all of them swaying in a brisk 
wind. Suddenly Lord John, who was walking 
first, halted with uplifted hand. 

"Look at this!" said he. "By George, this 
must be the trail of the father of all birds!" 

An enormous three-toed track was imprinted in 
the soft mud before us. The creature, whatever 
it was, had crossed the swamp and had passed on 
into the forest. We all stopped to examine that 
monstrous spoor. If it were indeed a bird and 
what animal could leave such a mark ? - - its foot 
was so much larger than an ostrich's that its height 
upon the same scale must be enormous. Lord 

Wonderful Things Happened 161 

John looked eagerly round him and slipped two 
cartridges into his elephant-gun. 

"I'll stake my good name as a shikarree," said 
he, "that the track is a fresh one. The creature 
has not passed ten minutes. Look how the water 
is still oozing into that deeper print! By Jove! 
See, here is the mark of a little one!" 

Sure enough, smaller tracks of the same general 
form were running parallel to the large ones. 

"But what do you make of this?" cried Pro- 
fessor Summerlee, triumphantly, pointing to what 
looked like the huge print of a five-fingered human 
hand appearing among the three-toed marks. 

"Wealden!" cried Challenger, in an ecstasy. 
"I've seen them in the Wealden clay. It is a 
creature walking erect upon three-toed feet, and 
occasionally putting one of its five-fingered fore- 
paws upon the ground. Not a bird, my dear 
Roxton not a bird." 

"A beast?" 

"No; a reptile a dinosaur. Nothing else 
could have left such a track. They puzzled a 
worthy Sussex doctor some ninety years ago; but 
who in the world could have hoped hoped to 
have seen a sight like that?" 

'JIS words died away into a whisper, and we all 
stood in motionless amazement. Following 
the tracks, we had left the morass and passed 
through a screen of brushwood and trees. Beyond 
was an open glade, and in this were five of the 
most extraordinary creatures that I have ever 

162 The Lost World 

seen. Crouching down among the bushes, we 
observed them at our leisure. 

There were, as I say, five of them, two being 
adults and three young ones. In size they were 
enormous. Even the babies were as big as ele- 
phants, while the two large ones were far beyond 
all creatures I have ever seen. They had slate- 
colored skin, which was scaled like a lizard's and 
shimmered where the sun shone upon it. All five 
were sitting up, balancing themselves upon their 
broad, powerful tails and their huge three-toed 
hind-feet, while with their small five-fingered front- 
feet they pulled down the branches upon which 
they browsed. I do not know that I can bring their 
appearance home to you better than by saying 
that they looked like monstrous kangaroos, twenty 
feet in length, and with skins like black crocodiles. 

I do not know how long we stayed motionless 
gazing at this marvelous spectacle. A strong 
wind blew towards us and we were well concealed, 
so there was no chance of discovery. From time 
to time the little ones played round their parents 
in unwieldy gambols, the great beasts bounding 
into the air and falling with dull thuds upon the 
earth. The strength of the parents seemed to be 
limitless, for one of them, having some difficulty 
in reaching a bunch of foliage which grew upon 
a considerable-sized tree, put his fore-legs round 
the trunk and tore it down as if it had been a sap- 
ling. The action seemed, as I thought, to show 
not only the great development of its muscles, 
but also the small one of its brain, for the whole 

Wonderful Things Happened 163 

weight came crashing down upon the top of it, and 
it uttered a series of shrill yelps to show that, big 
as it was, there was a limit to what it could endure. 
The incident made it think, apparently, that the 
neighborhood was dangerous, for it slowly lurched 
off through the wood, followed by its mate and its 
three enormous infants. We saw the shimmering 
slaty gleam of their skins between the tree-trunks, 
and their heads undulating high above the brush- 
wood. Then they vanished from our sight. 

I looked at my comrades. Lord John was 
standing at gaze with his finger on the trigger of 
his elephant-gun, his eager hunter's soul shining 
from his fierce eyes. What would he not give for 
one such head to place between the two crossed 
oars above the mantelpiece in his snuggery at the 
Albany! And yet his reason held him in, for all 
our exploration of the wonders of this unknown 
land depended upon our presence being concealed 
from its inhabitants. The two professors were in 
silent ecstasy. In their excitement they had un- 
consciously seized each other by the hand, and 
stood like two little children in the presence of a 
marvel, Challenger's cheeks bunched up into a 
seraphic smile, and Summerlee's sardonic face 
softening for the moment into wonder and rever- 

"Nunc dimittis!" he cried at last. "What 
will they say in England of this?" 

"My dear Summerlee, I will tell you with great 
confidence exactly what they will say in England," 
said Challenger. "They will say that you are an 

164 The Lost World 

infernal liar and a scientific charlatan, exactly 
as you and others said of me." 

"In the face of photographs?" 

" Faked, Summerlee ! Clumsily faked ! " 

"In the face of specimens?" 

"Ah, there we may have them! Malone and 
his filthy Fleet Street crew may be all yelping our 
praises yet. August the twenty-eighth the day 
we saw five live iguanodons in a glade of Maple 
White Land. Put it down in your diary, my young 
friend, and send it to your rag." 

"And be ready to get the toe-end of the editorial 
boot in return," said Lord John. "Things look 
a bit different from the latitude of London, young 
fellah my lad. There's many a man who never 
tells his adventures, for he can't hope to be be- 
lieved. Who's to blame them? For this will 
seem a bit of a dream to ourselves in a month or 
two. What did you say they were?" 

"Iguanodons," said Summerlee. " You'll find 
their footmarks all over the Hastings sands, in 
Kent, and in Sussex. The South of England was 
alive with them when there was plenty of good 
lush green-stuff to keep them going. Conditions 
have changed, and the beasts died. Here it seems 
that the conditions have not changed, and the 
beasts have lived." 

"If ever we get out of this alive, I must have 
a head with me," said Lord John. "Lord, 
how some of that Somaliland-Uganda crowd 
would turn a beautiful pea-green if they saw it! 
I don't know what you chaps think, but it 

Wonderful Things Happened 165 

strikes me that we are on mighty thin ice all 
this time." 

T HAD the same feeling of mystery and danger 
around us. In the gloom of the trees there 
seemed a constant menace and as we looked up 
into their shadowy foliage vague terrors crept into 
one's heart. It is true that these monstrous 
creatures which we had seen were lumbering, in- 
offensive brutes which were unlikely to hurt any- 
one, but in this world of wonders what other sur- 
vivals might there not be what fierce, active 
horrors ready to pounce upon us from their lair 
among the rocks or brushwood? I knew little of 
prehistoric life, but I had a clear remembrance of 
one book which I had read in which it spoke of 
creatures who would live upon our lions and tigers 
as a cat lives upon mice. What if these also were 
to be found in the woods of Maple White Land ! 

It was destined that on this very morning 
our first in the new country we were to find out 
what strange hazards lay around us. It was a 
loathsome adventure, and one of which I hate to 
think. If, as Lord John said, the glade of the 
iguanodons will remain with us as a dream, then 
surely the swamp of the pterodactyls will forever 
be our nightmare. Let me set down exactly what 

We passed very slowly through the woods, partly 
because Lord Roxton acted as scout before he 
would let us advance, and partly because at every 
second step one or other of our professors would 

166 The Lost World 

fall, with a cry of wonder, before some flower o 
insect which presented him with a new type. We 
may have traveled two or three miles in all, keep- 
ing to the right of the line of the stream, when 
we came upon a considerable opening in the trees. 
A belt of brushwood led up to a tangle of rocks 
the whole plateau was strewn with boulders. We 
were walking slowly towards these rocks, among 
bushes which reached over our waists, when we 
became aware of a strange low gabbling and whist- 
ling sound, which filled the air with a constant 
clamor and appeared to come from some spot 
immediately before us. Lord John held up his 
hand as a signal for us to stop, and he made his way 
swiftly, stooping and running, to the line of rocks. 
We saw him peep over them and give a gesture 
of amazement. Then he stood staring as if for- 
getting us, so utterly entranced was he by what 
he saw. Finally he waved us to come on, holding 
up his hand as a signal for caution. His whole 
bearing made me feel that something wonderful 
but dangerous lay before us. 

(CREEPING to his side, we looked over the 
rocks. The place into which we gazed was 
a pit, and may, in the early days, have been one 
of the smaller volcanic blow-holes of the plateau. 
It was bowl-shaped and at the bottom, some hun- 
dreds of yards from where we lay, were pools of 
green-scummed, stagnant water, fringed with bull- 
rushes. It was a weird place in itself, but its 
occupants made it seem like a scene from the Seven 

Wonderful Things Happened 167 

Circles of Dante. The place was a rookery of 
pterodactyls. There were hundreds of them con- 
gregated within view. All the bottom area round 
the water-edge was alive with their young ones, 
and with hideous mothers brooding upon their 
leathery, yellowish eggs. From this crawling 
flapping mass of obscene reptilian life came the 
shocking clamor which filled the air and the mephi- 
tic, horrible, musty odor which turned us sick. 
But above, perched each upon its own stone, tall, 
gray, and withered, more like dead and dried 
specimens than actual living creatures, sat the 
horrible males, absolutely motionless save for the 
rolling of their red eyes or an occasional snap of 
their rat-trap beaks as a dragon-fly went past 
them. Their huge, membranous wings were closed 
by folding their fore-arms, so that they sat like 
gigantic old women, wrapped in hideous web- 
colored shawls, and with their ferocious heads pro- 
truding above them. Large and small, not less 
than a thousand of these filthy creatures lay in 
the hollow before us. 

Our professors would gladly have stayed there 
all day, so entranced were they by this opportunity 
of studying the life of a prehistoric age. They 
pointed out the fish and dead birds lying about 
among the rocks as proving the nature of the food 
of these creatures, and I heard them congratulat- 
ing each other on having cleared up the point 
why the bones of this flying dragon are found in 
such great numbers in certain well-defined areas, 
as in the Cambridge Green-sand, since it was now 

168 The Lost World 

seen that, like penguins, they lived in gregarious 

Finally, however, Challenger, bent upon prov- 
ing some point which Summerlee had contested, 
thrust his head over the rock and nearly brought 
destruction upon us all. In an instant the nearest 
male gave a shrill, whistling cry, and flapped its 
twenty-foot span of leathery wings as it soared 
up into the air. The females and young ones 
huddled together beside the water, while the whole 
circle of sentinels rose one after the other and 
sailed off into the sky. It was a wonderful sight 
to see at least a hundred creatures of such enor- 
mous size and hideous appearance all swooping 
like swallows with swift, shearing wing-strokes 
above us ; but soon we realized that it was not one 
on which we could afford to linger. At first the 
great brutes flew round in a huge ring, as if to 
make sure what the exact extent of the danger 
might be. Then, the flight grew lower and the 
circle narrower, until they were whizzing round 
and round us, the dry, rustling flap of their huge 
slate-colored wings filling the air with a volume of 
sound that made me think of Hendon aerodrome 
upon a race day. 

"Make for the wood and keep together," cried 
Lord John, clubbing his rifle. "The brutes mean 

The moment we attempted to retreat the circle 
closed in upon us, until the tips of the wings of 
those nearest to us nearly touched our faces. We 
beat at them with the stocks of our guns, but there 


Wonderful Things Happened 169 

was nothing solid or vulnerable to strike. Then 
suddenly out of the whizzing, slate-colored circle 
a long neck shot out, and a fierce beak made a 
thrust at us. Another and another followed. 
Summerlee gave a cry and put his hand to his 
face, from which the blood was streaming. I felt 
a prod at the back of my neck, and turned dizzy 
with the shock. Challenger fell, and as I stooped 
to pick him up I was again struck from behind 
and dropped on the top of him. At the same 
instant I heard the crash of Lord John's elephant- 
gun, and, looking up, saw one of the creatures 
with a broken wing struggling upon the ground, 
spitting and gurgling at us with a wide-opened 
beak and blood-shot, goggled eyes, like some 
devil in a medieval picture. Its comrades had 
flown higher at the sudden sound, and were cir- 
cling above our heads. 

"Now," cried Lord John, "now for our 

We staggered through the brushwood, and even 
as we reached the trees the harpies were on us 
again. Summerlee was knocked down, but we 
tore him up and rushed among the trunks. Once 
there we were safe, for those huge wings had no 
space for their sweep beneath the branches. As 
we limped homewards, sadly mauled and dis- 
comfited, we saw them for a long time flying at a 
great height against the deep blue sky above our 
heads, soaring round and round, no bigger than 
wood-pigeons, with their eyes no doubt still fol- 
lowing our progress. At last, however, as we 

170 The Lost World 

reached the thicker woods they gave up the chase, 
and we saw them no more. 

A MOST interesting and convincing experience," 
said Challenger, as we halted beside the brook 
and he bathed a swollen knee. "We are excep- 
tionally well informed, Summerlee, as to the habits 
of the enraged pterodactyl." 

Summerlee was wiping the blood from a cut in 
his forehead, while I was tying up a nasty stab in 
the muscle of the neck. Lord John had the 
shoulder of his coat torn away, but the creature's 
teeth had only grazed the flesh. 

"It is worth noting," Challenger continued, 
"that our young friend has received an undoubted 
stab, while Lord John's coat could only have been 
torn by a bite. In my own case, I was beaten 
about the head by their wings, so we have had a 
remarkable exhibition of their various methods 
of offence." 

"It has been touch and go for our lives," said 
Lord John, gravely, "and I could not think of a 
more rotten sort of death than to be outed by such 
filthy vermin. I was sorry to fire my rifle, but, by 
Jove! there was no great choice." 

"We should not be here if you hadn't," said I, 
with conviction. 

"It may do no harm," said he. "Among these 
woods there must be many loud cracks from split- 
ting or falling trees which would be just like the 
sound of a gun. But now, if you are of my opinion, 
we have had thrills enough for one day, and had 

Wonderful Things Happened 171 

best get back to the surgical box at the camp for 
some carbolic. Who knows what venom these 
beasts may have in their hideous jaws?" 

But surely no men ever had just such a day 
since the world began. Some fresh surprise was 
ever in store for us. When, following the course 
of our brook, we at last reached our glade and saw 
the thorny barricade of our camp, we thought that 
our adventures were at an end. But we had some- 
thing more to think of before we could rest. The 
gate of Fort Challenger had been untouched, the 
walls were unbroken, and yet it had been visited 
by some strange and powerful creature in our 
absence. No foot-mark showed a trace of its 
nature, and only the overhanging branch of the 
enormous ginko tree suggested how it might have 
come and gone; but of its malevolent strength 
there was ample evidence in the condition of our 
stores. They were strewn at random all over the 
ground, and one tin of meat had been crushed 
into pieces so as to extract the contents. A case 
of cartridges had been shattered into matchwood, 
and one of the brass shells lay shredded into pieces 
beside it. Again the feeling of vague horror came 
upon our souls, and we gazed round with frightened 
eyes at the dark shadows which lay around us, 
in all of which some fearsome shape might be 
lurking. How good it was when we were hailed 
by the voice of Zambo, and, going to the edge 
of the plateau, saw him sitting grinning at us upon 
the top of the opposite pinnacle. 

"All well, Massa Challenger, all well!" he cried. 

172 The Lost World 

"Me stay here. No fear. You always find me 
when you want." 

His honest black face, and the immense view 
before us, which carried us half-way back to the 
affluent of the Amazon, helped us to remember 
that we really were upon this earth in the twentieth 
century, and had not by some magic been con- 
veyed to some raw planet in its earliest and wildest 
state. How difficult it was to realize that the 
violet line upon the far horizon was well advanced 
to that great river upon which huge steamers ran, 
and folk talked of the small affairs of life, while we, 
marooned among the creatures of a bygone age, 
could but gaze towards it and yearn for all that 
it meant! 

ONE other memory remains with me of this 
wonderful day, and with it I will close this 
letter. The two professors, their tempers aggra- 
vated no doubt by their injuries, had fallen out 
as to whether our assailants were of the genus 
pterodactylus or dimorphodon, and high words 
had ensued. To avoid their wrangling I moved 
some little way apart, and was seated smoking 
upon the trunk of a fallen tree, when Lord John 
strolled over in my direction. 

"I say, Malone," said he, "do you remember 
that place where those beasts were?" 

"Very clearly." 

"A sort of volcanic pit, was it not?" 

"Exactly," said I. 

"Did you notice the soil?" 

Wonderful Things Happened 173 

"Rocks/ 5 

" But round the water where the reeds were ?" 
"It was a bluish soil. It looked like clay." 
" Exactly. A volcanic tube full of blue clay." 
"What of that?" I asked. 
"Oh, nothing, nothing," said he, and strolled 
back to where the voices of the contending men of 
science rose in a prolonged duet, the high, strident 
note of Summerlee rising and falling to the sonorous 
bass of Challenger. I should have thought no more 
of Lord John's remark were it not that once again 
that night I heard him mutter to himself: "Blue 
clay clay in a volcanic tube!" They were the 
last words I heard before I dropped into an 
exhausted sleep. 


"For once I was the Hero" 

LORD JOHN ROXTON was right when he 
thought that some specially toxic quality 
might lie in the bite of the horrible creatures 
which had attacked us. On the morning after our 
first adyenture upon the plateau, both Summerlee 
and I were in great pain and fever, while Challen- 
ger's knee was so bruised that he could hardly limp. 
We kept to our camp all day, therefore, Lord 
John busying himself, with such help as we could 
give him, in raising the height and thickness of 
the thorny walls which were our only defense. 
I remember that during the whole long day I was 
haunted by the feeling that we were closely 
observed, though by whom or whence I could 
give no guess. 

So strong was the impression that I told Pro- 
fessor Challenger of it, who put it down to the 
cerebral excitement caused by my fever. Again 
and again I glanced round swiftly, with the con- 
viction that I was about to see something, but 
only to meet the dark tangle of our hedge or the 
solemn and cavernous gloom of the great trees 
which arched above our heads. And yet the 
feeling grew ever stronger in my own mind that 

For Once I Was the Hero 175 

something observant and something malevolent 
was at our very elbow. I thought of the Indian 
superstition of the Curupuri the dreadful, lurk- 
ing spirit of the woods and I could have imag- 
ined that his terrible presence haunted those who 
had invaded his most remote and sacred retreat. 

night (our third in Maple White Land) 
we had an experience which left a fearful 
impression upon our minds, and made us thankful 
that Lord John had worked so hard in making 
our retreat impregnable. We were all sleeping 
round our dying fire when we were aroused or, 
rather, I should say, shot out of our slumbers 
by a succession of the most frightful cries and 
screams to which I have ever listened. I know 
no sound to which I could compare this amazing 
tumult, which seemed to come from some spot 
within a few hundred yards of our camp. It was 
as ear-splitting as any whistle of a railway-engine; 
but whereas the whistle is a clear, mechanical, 
sharp-edged sound, this was far deeper in volume 
and vibrant with the uttermost strain of agony 
and horror. We clapped our hands to our ears 
to shut out that nerve-shaking appeal. A cold 
sweat broke out over my body, and my heart 
turned sick at the misery of it. All the woes of 
tortured life, all its stupendous indictment of 
high heaven, its innumerable sorrows, seemed to 
be centered and condensed into that one dreadful, 
agonized cry. And then, under this high-pitched, 
ringing sound there was another, more intermittent, 

176 The Lost World 

a low, deep-chested laugh, a growling, throaty 
gurgle of merriment which formed a grotesque 
accompaniment to the shriek with which it was 
blended. For three or four minutes on end the 
fearsome duet continued, while all the foliage 
rustled with the rising of startled birds. Then it 
shut off as suddenly as it began. For a long time 
we sat in horrified silence. Then Lord John threw 
a bundle of twigs upon the fire, and their red glare 
lit up the intent faces of my companions and 
flickered over the great boughs above our heads. 

"What was it?" I whispered. 

"We shall know in the morning," said Lord 
John. "It was close to us not farther than 
the glade." 

"We have been privileged to overhear a pre- 
historic tragedy, the sort of drama which occurred 
among the reeds upon the border of some Jurassic 
lagoon, when the greater dragon pinned the lesser 
among the slime," said Challenger, with more 
solemnity than I had ever heard in his voice. "It 
was surely well for man that he came late in the 
order of creation. There were powers abroad 
in earlier days which no courage and no mechanism 
of his could have met. What could his sling, his 
throwing-stick, or his arrow avail him against 
such forces as have been loose to-night? Even 
with a modern rifle it would be all odds on the 


"I think I should back my little friend," said 
Lord John, caressing his Express. " But the beast 
would certainly have a good sporting chance." 

For Once I Was the Hero 177 

Summerlee raised his hand. 

"Hush!" he cried. "Surely I hear something?" 

ROM the utter silence there emerged a deep, 
regular pat-pat. It was the tread of some 
animal the rhythm of soft but heavy pads 
placed cautiously upon the ground. It stole 
slowly round the camp, and then halted near our 
gateway. There was a low, sibilant rise and fall 
the breathing of the creature. Only our feeble 
hedge separated us from this horror of the night. 
Each of us had seized his rifle, and Lord John had 
pulled out a small bush to make an embrasure in 
the hedge. 

"By George!" he whispered. "I think I can 
see it!" 

I stooped and peered over his shoulder through 
the gap. Yes, I could see it, too. In the deep 
shadow of the tree there was a deeper shadow yet, 
black, inchoate, vague a crouching form full of 
savage vigor and menace. It was no higher than 
a horse, but the dim outline suggested vastfbulk 
and strength. That hissing pant, as regular and 
full-volumed as the exhaust of an engine, spoke of 
a monstrous organism. Once, as it moved, I 
thought I saw the glint of two terrible, greenish 
eyes. There was an uneasy rustling, as if it were 
crawling slowly forward. 

"I believe it is going to spring!" said I, cocking 
my rifle. 

"Don't fire! Don't fire!" whispered Lord 
John. "The crash of a gun in this silent night 

178 The Lost World 

would be heard for miles. Keep it as a last 

"If it gets over the hedge we're done," said 
Summerlee, and his voice crackled into a nervous 
laugh as he spoke. 

"No, it must not get over," cried Lord John; 
"but hold your fire to the last. Perhaps I can 
make something of the fellow. I'll chance it, 

It was as brave an act as ever I saw a man do. 
He stooped to the fire, picked up a blazing branch, 
and slipped in an instant through a sallyport which 
he had made in our gateway. The thing moved 
forward with a dreadful snarl. Lord John never 
hesitated, but, running towards it with a quick, 
light step, he dashed the flaming wood into the 
brute's face. For one moment I had a vision of a 
horrible mask like a giant toad's, of a warty, 
leprous skin, and of a loose mouth all beslobbered 
with fresh blood. The next, there was a crash 
in the underwood and our dreadful visitor was 

" I thought he wouldn't face the fire," said Lord 
John, laughing, as he came back and threw his 
branch among the faggots. 

"You should not have taken such a risk!" we 
all cried. 

"There was no thin' else to be done. If he had 
got among us we should have shot each other in 
tryin' to down him. On the other hand, if we had 
fired through the hedge and wounded him he would 
soon have been on the top of us to say nothin' of 

For Once I Was the Hero 179 

giving ourselves away. On the whole, I think that 
we are jolly well out of it. What was he, then?" 

Our learned men looked at each other with some 

" Personally, I am unable to classify the creature 
with any certainty," said Summerlee, lighting his 
pipe from the fire. 

"In refusing to commit yourself you are but 
showing a proper scientific reserve," said Chal- 
lenger, with massive condescension. "I am not 
myself prepared to go farther than to say in general 
terms that we have almost certainly been in con- 
tact to-night with some form of carnivorous dino- 
saur. I have already expressed my anticipation 
that something of the sort might exist upon this 

"We have to bear in mind," remarked Sum- 
merlee, "that there are many prehistoric forms 
which have never come down to us. It would 
be rash to suppose that we can give a name to all 
that we are likely to meet." 

" Exactly. A rough classification may be the 
best that we can attempt. To-morrow some 
further evidence may help us to an identification. 
Meantime we can only renew our interrupted 

" But not without a sentinel," said Lord John, 
with decision. "We can't afford to take chances 
in a country like this. Two-hour spells in the 
future, for each of us." 

'Then I'll just finish my pipe in starting the first 
one," said Professor Summerlee; and from that 

180 The Lost World 

time onwards we never trusted ourselves again 
without a watchman. 

TN the morning it was not long before we dis- 
covered the source of the hideous uproar which 
had aroused us in the night. The iguanodon 
glade was the scene of a horrible butchery. From 
the pools of blood and the enormous lumps of 
flesh scattered in every direction over the green 
sward we imagined at first that a number of 
animals had been killed, but on examining the 
remains more closely we discovered that all this 
carnage came from one of these unwieldy monsters, 
which had been literally torn to pieces by some 
creature not larger, perhaps, but far more ferocious, 
than itself. 

Our two professors sat in absorbed argument, 
examining piece after piece, which showed the 
marks of savage teeth and of enormous claws. 

"Our judgment must still be in abeyance," said 
Professor Challenger, with a huge slab of whitish- 
colored flesh across his knee. "The indications 
would be consistent with the presence of a saber- 
toothed tiger, such as are still found among the 
breccia of our caverns ; but the creature actually 
seen was undoubtedly of a larger and more reptilian 
character. Personally, I should pronounce for 

"Or megalosaurus," said Summerlee. 

"Exactly. Any one of the larger carnivorous 
dinosaurs would meet the case. Among them are 
to be found all the most terrible types of animal 

For Once I Was the Hero 181 

life that have ever cursed the earth or blessed a 
museum/ 5 He laughed sonorously at his own 
conceit, for, though he had little sense of humor, 
the crudest pleasantry from his own lips moved 
him always to roars of appreciation. 

"The less noise the better," said Lord Roxton, 
curtly. "We don't know who or what may be 
near us. If this fellah comes back for InV breakfast 
and catches us here we won't have so much to 
laugh at. By the way, what is this mark upon the 
iguanodon's hide?" 

the dull, scaly, slate-colored skin, somewhere 
above the shoulder, there was a singular black 
circle of some substance which looked like asphalt. 
None of us could suggest what it meant, though 
Summerlee was of opinion that he had seen some- 
thing similar upon one of the young ones two days 
before. Challenger said nothing, but looked pom- 
pous and puffy, as if he could if he would, so that 
finally Lord John asked his opinion direct. 

"If your lordship will graciously permit me to 
open my mouth, I shall be happy to express my 
sentiments," said he, with elaborate sarcasm. "I 
am not in the habit of being taken to task in the 
fashion which seems to be customary with your 
lordship. I was not aware that it was necessary 
to ask your permission before smiling at a harmless 

It was not until he had received his apology 
that our touchy friend would suffer himself to be 
appeased. When at last his ruffled feelings were 

182 The Lost World 

at ease, he addressed us at some length from his 
seat upon a fallen tree, speaking, as his habit was, 
as if he were imparting most precious information 
to a class of a thousand. 

"With regard to the marking," said he, "I am 
inclined to agree with my friend and colleague, 
Professor Summerlee, that the stains are from 
asphalt. As this plateau is, in its very nature, 
highly volcanic, and as asphalt is a substance which 
one associates with Plutonic forces, I cannot doubt 
that it exists in the free liquid state, and that the 
creatures may have come in contact with it. A 
much more important problem is the question as 
to the existence of the carnivorous monster which 
has left its traces in this glade. We know roughly 
that this plateau is not larger than an average 
English county. Within this confined space a 
certain number of creatures, mostly types which 
have passed away in the world below, have lived 
together for innumerable years. Now, it is very 
clear to me that in so long a period one would have 
expected that the carnivorous creatures, multiply- 
ing unchecked, would have exhausted their food 
supply and have been compelled to either modify 
their flesh-eating habits or die of hunger. This we 
see has not been so. We can only imagine, there- 
fore, that the balance of Nature is preserved by 
some check which limits the numbers of these 
ferocious creatures. One of the many interesting 
problems, therefore, which await our solution is 
to discover what that check may be and how it 
operates. I venture to trust that we may have 

For Once I Was the Hero 183 

some future opportunity for the closer study of 
the carnivorous dinosaurs." 

"And I venture to trust we may not," I observed. 

The Professor only raised his great eyebrows, as 
the schoolmaster meets the irrelevant observation 
of the naughty boy. 

"Perhaps Professor Summerlee may have an 
observation to make," he said, and the two 
savants ascended together into some rarefied scien- 
tific atmosphere, where the possibilities of a modi- 
fication of the birth-rate were weighed against 
the decline of the food supply as a check in the 
struggle for existence. 

That morning we mapped out a small portion of 
the plateau, avoiding the swamp of the ptero- 
dactyls, and keeping to the east of our brook 
instead of to the west. In that direction the 
country was still thickly wooded, with so much 
undergrowth that our progress was very slow. 

T HAVE dwelt up to now upon the terrors of 
Maple White Land; but there was another 
side to the subject, for all that morning we wan- 
dered among lovely flowers mostly, as I ob- 
served, white or yellow in color, these being, as 
our professors explained, the primitive flower- 
shades. In many places the ground was absolutely 
covered with them, and as we walked ankle-deep 
on that wonderful yielding carpet, the scent was 
almost intoxicating in its sweetness and intensity. 
The homely English bee buzzed everywhere around 
us. Many of the trees under which we passed 

184 The Lost World 

had their branches bowed down with fruit, some 
of which were of familiar sorts, while other varieties 
were new. By observing which of them were 
pecked by the birds we avoided all danger of 
poison and added a delicious variety to our food 
reserve. In the jungle which we traversed were 
numerous hard-trodden paths made by the wild 
beasts, and in the more marshy places we saw a 
profusion of strange footmarks, including many 
of the iguanodon. Once in a grove we observed 
several of these great creatures grazing, and Lord 
John, with his glass, was able to report that they 
also were spotted with asphalt, though in a different 
place to the one which we had examined in the 
morning. What this phenomenon meant we could 
not imagine. 

We saw many small animals, such as porcupines, 
a scaly ant-eater, and a wild pig, piebald in color 
and with long curved tusks. Once, through a 
break in the trees, we saw a clear shoulder of green 
hill some distance away, and across this a large 
dun-colored animal was traveling at a considerable 
pace. It passed so swiftly that we were unable to 
say what it was; but if it were a deer, as was 
claimed by Lord John, it must have been as large 
as those monstrous Irish elk which are still dug 
up from time to time in the bogs of my native 

Ever since the mysterious visit which had been 
paid to our camp we always returned to it with 
some misgivings. However, on this occasion we 
found everything in order. 

For Once I Was the Hero 185 

HpHAT evening we had a grand discussion upon 
our present situation and future plans, which 
I must describe at some length, as it led to a new 
departure by which we were enabled to gain a 
more complete knowledge of Maple White Land 
than might have come in many weeks of exploring. 
It was Summerlee who opened the debate. All 
day he had been querulous in manner, and now 
some remark of Lord John's as to what we should 
do on the morrow brought all his bitterness to a 

"What we ought to be doing to-day, to-morrow, 
and all the time," said he, "is finding some way 
out of the trap into which we have fallen. You 
are all turning your brains towards getting into 
this country. I say that we should be scheming 
how to get out of it." 

"I am surprised, sir," boomed Challenger, strok- 
ing his majestic beard, "that any man of science 
should commit himself to so ignoble a sentiment. 
You are in a land which offers such an induce- 
ment to the ambitious naturalist as none ever has 
since the world began, and you suggest leaving it 
before we have acquired more than the most 
superficial knowledge of it or of its contents. I 
expected better things of you, Professor Sum- 

"You must remember," said Summerlee, sourly, 
"that I have a large class in London who are at 
present at the mercy of an extremely inefficient 
locum tenens. This makes my situation different 
from yours, Professor Challenger, since, so far 

186 The Lost World 

as I know, you have never been entrusted with 
any responsible educational work." 

"Quite so," said Challenger. "I have felt it to 
be a sacrilege to divert a brain which is capable of 
the highest original research to any lesser object. 
That is why I have sternly set my face against any 
proffered scholastic appointment." 

" For example ?" asked Summerlee, with a sneer; 
but Lord John hastened to change the conversa- 

"I must say," said he, "that I think it would be 
a mighty poor thing to go back to London before I 
know a great deal more of this place than I do at 

" I could never dare to walk into the back office 
of my paper and face old McArdle," said I. (You 
will excuse the frankness of this report, will you 
not, sir?) "He'd never forgive me for leaving 
such unexhausted copy behind me. Besides, so 
far as I can see, it is not worth discussing, since we 
can't get down, even if we wanted." 

"Our young friend makes up for many obvious 
mental lacunae by some measure of primitive 
common sense," remarked Challenger. "The in- 
terests of his deplorable profession are immaterial 
to us; but, as he observes, we cannot get down in 
any case, so it is a waste of energy to discuss it." 

"It is a waste of energy to do anything else," 
growled Summerlee from behind his pipe. "Let 
me remind you that we came here upon a perfectly 
definite mission, entrusted to us at the meeting of 
the Zoological Institute in London. That mission 

For Once I Was the Hero 187 

was to test the truth of Professor Challenger's 
statements. Those statements, as I am bound to 
admit, we are now in a position to endorse. Our 
ostensible work is therefore done. As to the detail 
which remains to be worked out upon this plateau, 
it is so enormous that only a large expedition, with 
a very special equipment, could hope to cope with 
it. Should we attempt to do so ourselves, the only 
possible result must be that we shall never return 
with the important contribution to science which 
we have already gained. Professor Challenger 
has devised means for getting us on to this plateau 
when it appeared to be inaccessible; I think that 
we should now call upon him to use the same in- 
genuity in getting us back to the world from which 

we came." 

I confess that as Summerlee stated his view it 
struck me as altogether reasonable. Even Chal- 
lenger was affected by the consideration that his 
enemies would never stand confuted if the con- 
firmation of his statements should never reach 
those who had doubted them. 

"The problem of the descent is at first sight a 
formidable one," said he, "and yet I cannot doubt 
that the intellect can solve it. I am prepared to 
agree with our colleague that a protracted stay 
in Maple White Land is at present inadvisable, and 
that the question of our return will soon have to be 
faced. I absolutely refuse to leave, however, until 
we have made at least a superficial examination of 
this country, and are able to take back with us 
something in the nature of a chart." 

188 The Lost World 

Professor Summerlee gave a snort of impatience. 

"We have spent two long days in exploration," 
said he, "and we are no wiser as to the actual 
geography of the place than when we started. It 
is clear that it is all thickly wooded, and it would 
take months to penetrate it and to learn the rela- 
tions of one part to another. If there were some 
central peak it would be different, but it all slopes 
downwards, so far as we can see. The farther we 
go the leso likely it is that we will get any general 


JT was at that moment that I had my inspiration. 
My eyes chanced to light upon the enormous 
gnarled trunk of the gingko tree which cast its 
huge branches over us. Surely, if its bole exceeded 
that of all others, its height must do the same. 
If the rim of the plateau was indeed the highest 
point, then why should this mighty tree not prove 
to be a watchtower which commanded the whole 
country? Now, ever since I ran wild as a lad in 
Ireland I have been a bold and skilled tree-climber. 
My comrades might be my masters on the rocks, 
but I knew that I would be supreme among those 
branches. Could I only get my legs on to the 
lowest of the giant off-shoots, then it would be 
strange indeed if I could not make my way to the 
top. My comrades were delighted at my idea. 

"Our young friend," said Challenger, bunching 
up the red apples of his cheeks, "is capable of 
acrobatic exertions which would be impossible 
to a man of a more solid, though possibly of a 

For Once I Was the Hero 189 

more commanding, appearance. I applaud his 

" By George, young fellah, you Ve put your hand 
on it!" said Lord John, clapping me on the back. 
"How we never came to think of it before I 
can't imagine! There's not more than an hour 
of daylight left, but if you take your notebook you 
may be able to get some rough sketch of the place. 
If we put these three ammunition cases under the 
branch, I will soon hoist you on to it." 

He stood on the boxes while I faced the trunk, 
and was gently raising me when Challenger sprang 
forward and gave me such a thrust with his huge 
hand that he fairly shot me into the tree. With 
both arms clasping the branch, I scrambled hard 
with my feet until I had worked, first my body, 
and then my knees, on to it. There were three 
excellent off-shoots, like huge rungs of a ladder, 
above my head, and a tangle of convenient 
branches beyond, so that I clambered onwards 
with such speed that I soon lost sight of the ground 
and had nothing but foliage beneath me. Now 
and then I encountered a check, and once I had 
to shin up a creeper for eight or ten feet, but I made 
excellent progress, and the booming of Challen- 
ger's voice seemed to be a great distance beneath 
me. The tree was, however, enormous, and, 
looking upwards, I could see no thinning of the 
leaves above my head. There was some thick, 
bush-like clump which seemed to be a parasite 
upon a branch up which I was swarming. I leaned 
my head round it in order to see what was beyond. 

190 The Lost World 

and I nearly fell out of the tree in my surprise and 
horror at what I saw. 

A face was gazing into mine at the distance of 
only a foot or two. The creature that owned it 
had been crouching behind the parasite, and had 
looked round it at the same instant that I did. It 
was a human face or at least it was far more 
human than any monkey's that I have ever seen. 
It was long, whitish, and blotched with pimples, 
the nose flattened, and the lower jaw projecting, 
with a bristle of coarse whiskers round the chin. 
The eyes, which were under thick and heavy brows, 
were bestial and ferocious, and as it opened its 
mouth to snarl what sounded like a curse at me I 
observed that it had curved, sharp canine teeth. 
For an instant I read hatred and menace in the 
evil eyes. Then, as quick as a flash, came an 
expression of overpowering fear. There was a 
crash of broken boughs as it dived wildly down 
into the tangle of green. I caught a glimpse of a 
hairy body like that of a reddish pig, and then it 
was gone amid a swirl of leaves and branches. 

"What's the matter?" shouted Roxton from 
below. " Anything wrong with you ? " 

"Did you see it?" I cried, with my arms round 
the branch and all my nerves tingling. 

"We heard a row, as if your foot had slipped. 
What was it?" 

I was so shocked at the sudden and strange 
appearance of this ape-man that I hesitated 
whether I should not climb down again and tell 
my experience to my companions. But I was 


For Once I Was the Hero 191 

already so far up the great tree that it seemed a 
humiliation to return without having carried out 
my mission. 

After a long pause, therefore, to recover my 
breath and my courage, I continued my ascent. 
Once I put my weight upon a rotten branch and 
swung for a few seconds by my hands, but in the 
main it was all easy climbing. Gradually the 
leaves thinned around me, and I was aware, from 
the wind upon my face, that I had topped all the 
trees of the forest. I was determined, however, 
not to look about me before I had reached the 
very highest point, so I scrambled on until I had 
got so far that the topmost branch was bending 
beneath my weight. There I settled into a con- 
venient fork, and, balancing myself securely, I 
found myself looking down at a most wonderful 
panorama of this strange country in which we 
found ourselves. 

HTHE sun was just above the western sky-line, 
and the evening was a particularly bright and 
clear one, so that the whole extent of the plateau 
was visible beneath me. It was, as seen from 
this height, of an oval contour, with a breadth of 
about thirty miles and a width of twenty. Its 
general shape was that of a shallow funnel, all the 
sides sloping down to a considerable lake in the 
center. This lake may have been ten miles in 
circumference, and lay very green and beautiful 
in the evening light, with a thick fringe of reeds 
at its edges, and with its surface broken by several 

192 The Lost World 

yellow sandbanks, which gleamed golden in the 
mellow sunshine. A number of long dark objects, 
which were too large for alligators and too long 
for canoes, lay upon the edges of these patches of 
sand. With my glass I could clearly see that 
they were alive, but what their nature might be I 
could not imagine. 

From the side of the plateau on which we 
were, slopes of woodland, with occasional glades, 
stretched down for five or six miles to the central 
lake. I could see at my very feet the glade of 
the iguanodons, and farther off was a round open- 
ing in the trees which marked the swamp of the 
pterodactyls. On the side facing me, however, 
the plateau presented a very different aspect. 
There the basalt cliffs of the outside were repro- 
duced upon the inside, forming an escarpment 
about two hundred feet high, with a woody slope 
beneath it. Along the base of these red cliffs, 
some distance above the ground, I could see a 
number of dark holes through the glass, which I 
conjectured to be the mouths of caves. At the 
opening of one of these something white was 
shimmering, but I was unable to make out what 
it was. I sat charting the country until the sun 
had set and it was so dark that I could no longer 
distinguish details. Then I climbed down to my 
companions waiting for me so eagerly at the 
bottom of the great tree. For once I was the 
hero of the expedition. Alone I had thought of 
it, and alone I had done it; and here was the chart 
which would save us a month's blind groping 

For Once I Was the Hero 193 

among unknown dangers. Each of them shook 
me solemnly by the hand. 

TJUT before they discussed the details of my 
map I had to tell them of my encounter with 
the ape-man among the branches. 

"He has been there all the time/' said I. 

"How do you know that?" asked Lord John. 
r "Because I have never been without that 
feeling that something malevolent was watching 
us. I mentioned it to you, Professor Challenger/' 
1 "Our young friend certainly said something of 
the kind. He is also the one among us who is en- 
dowed with that Celtic temperament which would 
make him sensitive to such impressions." 

"The whole theory of telepathy " began 

Summerlee, filling his pipe. 

"Is too vast to be now discussed/' said Chal- 
lenger, with decision. "Tell me, now," he added, 
with the air of a bishop addressing a Sunday- 
school, "did you happen to observe whether the 
creature could cross its thumb over its palm?" 

"No, indeed." 

"Had it a tail?" 


"Was the foot prehensile?" 

"I do not think it could have made off so fast 
among the branches if it could not get a grip with 
its feet." 

"In South America there are, if my memory 
serves me you will check the observation, Pro- 
fessor Summerlee some thirty-six species of 

194 The Lost World 

monkeys, but the anthropoid ape is unknown, It 
is clear, however, that he exists in this country, 
and that he is not the hairy, gorilla-like variety, 
which is never seen out of Africa or the East." 
(I was inclined to interpolate, as I looked at him, 
that I had seen his first cousin in Kensington.) 
"This is a whiskered and colorless type, the latter 
characteristic pointing to the fact that he spends 
his days in arboreal seclusion. The question 
which we have to face is whether he approaches 
more closely to the ape or the man. In the latter 
case, he may well approximate to what the vulgar 
have called the 'missing link/ The solution of 
this problem is our immediate duty." 

"It is nothing of the sort," said Summerlee, 
abruptly. "Now that, through the intelligence 
and activity of Mr. Malone" (I cannot help 
quoting the words), "we have got our chart, our 
one and only immediate duty is to get ourselves 
safe and sound out of this awful place." 

"The flesh-pots of civilization," groaned Chal- 

"The ink-pots of civilization, sir. It is our task 
to put on record what we have seen, and to leave 
the further exploration to others. You all agreed 
as much before Mr. Malone got us the chart." 

"Well," said Challenger, "I admit that my 
mind will be more at ease when I am assured that 
the result of our expedition has been conveyed to 
our friends. How we are to get down from this 
place I have not as yet an idea. I have never 
yet encountered any problem, however, which 

For Once I Was the Hero 195 

my inventive brain was unable to solve, and I 
promise you that to-morrow I will turn my atten- 
tion to the question of our descent." 
And so the matter was allowed to rest. 

"DUT that evening, by the light of the fire and 
of a single candle, the first map of the lost 
world was elaborated. Every detail which I had 
roughly noted from my watch-tower was drawn 
out in its relative place. Challenger's pencil 
hovered over the great blank which marked the 

"What shall we call it?" he asked. 

"Why should you not take the chance of per- 
petuating your own name ?" said Summerlee, with 
his usual touch of acidity. 

"I trust, sir, that my name will have other and 
more personal claims upon posterity," said Chal- 
lenger, severely. "Any ignoramus can hand down 
his worthless memory by imposing it upon a 
mountain or a river. I need no such monument." 

Summerlee, with a twisted smile, was about to 
make some fresh assault when Lord John hastened 
to intervene. 

"It's up to you, young fellah, to name the lake," 
said he. ''You saw it first, and, by George, if 
you choose to put 'Lake Malone' on it, no one 
has a better right." 

" By all means. Let our young friend give it a 
name," said Challenger. 

"Then," said I, blushing, I dare say, as I said it, 
"let it be named Lake Gladys." 

196 The Lost World 

"Don't you think the Central Lake would be 
more descriptive?" remarked Summerlee. 

"I should prefer Lake Gladys/' 

Challenger looked at me sympathetically, and 
shook his great head in mock disapproval. " Boys 
will be boys/' said he. "Lake Gladys let it be." 


"It>-was Dreadful in the Forest" 

I HAVE said or perhaps I have not said, for 
my memory plays me sad tricks these days 
that I glowed with pride when three such men 
as my comrades thanked me for having saved, or 
at least greatly helped, the situation. As the 
youngster of the party, not merely in years, but 
in experience, character, knowledge, and all that 
goes to make a man, I had been overshadowed 
from the first. And now I was coming into my 
own. I warmed at the thought. Alas! for the 
pride which goes before a fall! That little glow 
of self-satisfaction, that added measure of self- 
confidence, were to lead me on that very night to 
the most dreadful experience of my life, ending 
with a shock which turns my heart sick when I 
think of it. 

It came about in this way. I had been unduly 
excited by the adventure of the tree, and sleep 
seemed to be impossible. Summerlee was on guard , 
sitting hunched over our small fire, a quaint, 
angular figure, his rifle across his knees and his 
pointed, goat-like beard wagging with each weary 
nod of his head. Lord John lay silent, wrapped 
in the South American poncho which he wore, 

198 The Lost World 

while Challenger snored with a roll and rattle 
which reverberated through the woods. The full 
moon was shining brightly, and the air was crisply 
cold. What a night for a walk! And then sud- 
denly came the thought, "Why not?" Suppose 
I stole softly away, suppose I made my way down 
to the central lake, suppose I was back at break- 
fast with some record of the place would I not 
in that case be thought an even more worthy 
associate? Then, if Summerlee carried the day 
and some means of escape were found, we should 
return to London with first-hand knowledge of 
the central mystery of the plateau, to which I 
alone, of all men, would have penetrated. I 
thought of Gladys, with her "There are heroisms 
all round us." I seemed to hear her voice as she 
said it. I thought also of McArdle. What a three 
column article for the paper! What a foundation 
for a career! A correspondentship in the next 
great war might be within my reach. I clutched 
at a gun my pockets were full of cartridges - 
and, parting the thorn bushes at the gate of 
our zareba, quickly slipped out. My last glance 
showed me the unconscious Summerlee, most 
futile of sentinels, still nodding away like a queer 
mechanical toy in front of the smouldering fire. 

F HAD not gone a hundred yards before I deeply 
repented my rashness. I may have said some- 
where in this chronicle that I am too imaginative 
to be a really courageous man, but that I have an 
overpowering fear of seeming afraid. This was 

It Was Dreadful in the Forest 199 

the power which now carried me onwards. I 
simply could not slink back with nothing done. 
Even if my comrades should not have missed me, 
and should never know of my weakness, there 
would still remain some intolerable self-shame in 
my own soul. And yet I shuddered at the position 
in which I found myself, and would have given 
all I possessed at that moment to have been 
honorably free of the whole business. 

It was dreadful in the forest. The trees grew 
so thickly and their foliage spread so widely that I 
could see nothing of the moon-light save that here 
and there the high branches made a tangled fili- 
gree against the starry sky. As the eyes became 
more used to the obscurity one learned that there 
were different degrees of darkness among the 
trees that some were dimly visible, while be- 
tween and among them there were coal-black 
shadowed patches, like the mouths of caves, from 
which I shrank in horror as I passed. I thought of 
the despairing yell of the tortured iguanodon 
that dreadful cry which had echoed through the 
woods. I thought, too, of the glimpse I had in 
the light of Lord John's torch of that bloated, 
warty, blood-slavering muzzle. Even now I was 
on its hunting-ground. At any instant it might 
spring upon me from the shadows this nameless 
and horrible monster. I stopped, and, picking a 
cartridge from my pocket, I opened the breech 
of my gun. As I touched the lever my heart 
leaped within me. It was the shot-gun, not the 
rifle, which I had taken! 

200 The Lost World 

Again the impulse to return swept over me. 
Here, surely, was a most excellent reason for my 
failure one for which no one would think the 
less of me. But again the foolish pride fought 
against that very word. I could not must not - 
fail. After all, my rifle would probably have been 
as useless as a shot-gun against such dangers as I 
might meet. If I were to go back to camp to 
change my weapon I could hardly expect to enter 
and to leave again without being seen. In that 
case there would be explanations, and my attempt 
would no longer be all my own. After a little hesita- 
tion, then, I screwed up my courage and continued 
upon my way, my useless gun under my arm. 

HpHE darkness of the forest had been alarming, 
but even worse was the white, still flood of 
moonlight in the open glade of the iguanodons. 
Hid among the bushes, I looked out at it. None 
of the great brutes were in sight. Perhaps the 
tragedy which had befallen one of them had driven 
them from their feeding-ground. In the misty, 
silvery night I could see no sign of any living thing. 
Taking courage, therefore, I slipped rapidly across 
it, and among the jungle on the farther side I 
picked up once again the brook which was my 
guide. It was a cheery companion, gurgling and 
chuckling as it ran, like the dear old trout-stream 
in the West Country where I h'ave fished at night 
in my boyhood. So long as I followed it down I 
must come to the lake, and so long as I followed 
it back I must come to the camp. Often I had to 

It Was Dreadful in the Forest 201 

lose sight of it on account of the tangled brush- 
wood, but I was always within earshot of its tinkle 
and splash. 

As one descended the slope the woods became 
thinner, and bushes, with occasional high trees, 
took the place of the forest. I could make good 
progress, therefore, and I could see without being 
seen. I passed close to the pterodactyl swamp, 
and as I did so, with a dry, crisp, leathery rattle of 
wings, one of these great creatures it was twenty 
feet at least from tip to tip rose up from some- 
where near me and soared into the air. As it 
passed across the face of the moon the light shone 
clearly through the membranous wings, and it 
looked like a flying skeleton against the white, 
tropical radiance. I crouched low among the 
bushes, for I knew from past experience that with 
a single cry the creature could bring a hundred of 
its loathsome mates about my ear?. It was not 
until it had settled again that I dared to steal 
onwards upon my journey. 

The night had been exceedingly still, but as I 
advanced I became conscious of a low, rumbling 
sound, a continuous murmur, somewhere in front 
of me. This grew louder as I proceeded, until at 
last it was clearly quite close to me. When I stood 
still the sound was constant, so that it seemed 
to come from some stationary cause. It was like 
a boiling kettle or the bubbling of some great pot. 
Soon I came upon the source of it, for in the center 
of a small clearing I found a lake or a pool, rather, 
for it was not larger than the basin of the Trafalgar 

202 The Lost World 

Square fountain of some black, pitch-like stuff, 
the surface of which rose and fell in great blisters 
of bursting gas. The air above it was shimmer- 
ing with heat, and the ground round was so hot 
that I could hardly bear to lay my hand on it. 
It was clear that the great volcanic outburst which 
had raised this strange plateau so many years ago 
had not yet entirely spent its forces. Blackened 
rocks and mounds of lava I had already seen every- 
where peeping out from amid the luxuriant vegeta- 
tion which draped them, but this asphalt pool in the 
jungle was the first sign that we had of actual exist- 
ing activity on the slopes of the ancient crater. I 
had no time to examine it further for I had need to 
hurry if I were to be back in camp in the morning. 

It was a fearsome walk, and one which will be 
with me so long as memory holds. In the great 
moonlight clearings I slunk along among the 
shadows on the margin. In the jungle I crept 
forward, stopping with a beating heart whenever 
I heard, as I often did, the crash of breaking 
branches as some wild beast went past. Now and 
then great shadows loomed up for an instant and 
were gone great, silent shadows w r hich seemed 
to prowl upon padded feet. How often I stopped 
with the intention of returning, and yet every 
time my pride conquered my fear, and sent me on 
again until my object should be attained. 

AT last (my watch showed that it was one in 

the morning) I saw the gleam of water amid the 

openings of the jungle, and ten minutes later I 

It Was Dreadful in the Forest 203 

was among the reeds upon the borders of the central 
lake. I was exceedingly dry, so I lay down and 
took a long draught of its waters, which were fresh 
and cold. There was a broad pathway with many 
tracks upon it at the spot which I had found, so 
that it was clearly one of the drinking-places of 
the animals. Close to the water's edge there was 
a huge isolated block of lava. Up this I climbed, 
and, lying on the top, I had an excellent view in 
every direction. 

The first thing which I saw filled me with amaze- 
ment. When I described the view from the sum- 
mit of the great tree, I said that on the farther 
cliff I could see a number of dark spots, which 
appeared to be the mouths of caves. Now, as I 
looked up at the same cliffs, I saw discs of light 
in every direction, ruddy, clearly-defined patches, 
like the port-holes of a liner in the darkness. For 
a moment I thought it was the lava-glow from 
some volcanic action; but this could not be so. 
Any volcanic action would surely be down in the 
hollow, and not high among the rocks. What, 
then, was the alternative ? It was wonderful, and 
yet it must surely be. These ruddy spots must 
be the reflection of fires within the caves fires 
which could only be lit by the hand of man. There 
were human beings, then, upon the plateau. How 
gloriously my expedition was justified! Here was 
news indeed for us to bear back with us to London ! 

For a long time I lay and watched these red, 
quivering blotches of light. I suppose they were 
ten miles off from me, yet even at that distance 

204 The Lost World 

one could observe how, from time to time, they 
twinkled or were obscured as someone passed 
before them. What would I not have given to be 
able to crawl up to them, to peep in, and to take 
back some word to my comrades as to the appear- 
ance and character of the race who lived in so 
strange a place! It was out of the question for 
the moment, and yet surely we could not leave 
the plateau until we had some definite knowledge 
upon the point. 

Lake Gladys my own lake lay like a sheet 
of quicksilver before me, with a reflected moon 
shining brightly in the center of it. It was shallow, 
for in many places I saw low sandbanks protruding 
above the water. - Everywhere upon the still sur- 
face I could see signs of life, sometimes mere rings 
and ripples in the water, sometimes the gleam of 
a great silver-sided fish in the air, sometimes the 
arched, slate-colored back of some passing monster. 
Once upon a yellow sandbank I saw a creature like 
a huge swan, with a clumsy body and a high, flexible 
neck, shuffling about upon the margin. Presently 
it plunged in, and for some time I could see the 
arched neck and darting head undulating over the 
water. Then it dived, and I saw it no more. 

My attention was soon drawn away from these 
distant sights and brought back to what was going 
on at my very feet. Two creatures like large 
armadillos had come down to the drinking-place, 
and were squatting at the edge of the water, their 
long, flexible tongues like red ribbons shooting 
in and out as they lapped. A huge deer, with 

It Was Dreadful in the Forest 205 

branching horns, a magnificent creature which 
carried itself like a king, came down with its doe 
and two fawns and drank beside the armadillos. 
No such deer exist anywhere else upon earth, for 
the moose or elks which I have seen would hardly 
have reached its shoulders. Presently it gave a 
warning snort, and was off with its family among 
the reeds, while the armadillos also scuttled for 
shelter. A new-comer, a most monstrous animal, 
was coming down the path. 

For a moment I wondered where I could have 
seen that ungainly shape, that arched back with 
triangular fringes along it, that strange bird-like 
head held close to the ground. Then it came back 
to me. It was the stegosaurus the very creature 
which Maple White had preserved in his sketch- 
book, and which had been the first object which 
arrested the attention of Challenger! There he 
was perhaps the very specimen which the Ameri- 
can artist had encountered. The ground shook 
beneath his tremendous weight, and his gulpings 
of water resounded through the still night. For 
five minutes he was so close to my rock that by 
stretching out my hand I could have touched the 
hideous waving hackles upon his back. Then he 
lumbered away and was lost among the boulders. 

Looking at my watch, I saw that it was half- 
past two o'clock, and high time, therefore, that I 
started upon my homeward journey. There was 
no difficulty about the direction in which I should 
return, for all along I had kept the little brook 
upon my left, and it opened into the central lake 

206 The Lost World 

within a stone's-throw of the boulder upon which 
I had been lying. I set off, therefore, in high 
spirits, for I felt that I had done good work and 
was bringing back a fine budget of news for my 
companions. Foremost of all, of course, were 
the sight of the fiery caves and the certainty that 
some troglodytic race inhabited them. But besides 
that I could speak from experience of the central 
lake. I could testify that it was full of strange 
creatures, and I had seen several land forms of 
primeval life which we had not before encountered. 
I reflected as I walked that few men in the world 
could have spent a stranger night or added more 
to human knowledge in the course of it. 

T WAS plodding up the slope, turning these 
thoughts over in my mind, and had reached a 
point which may have been half-way to home, 
when my mind was brought back to my own posi- 
tion by a strange noise behind me. It was some- 
thing between a snore and a growl, low, deep, and 
exceedingly menacing. Some strange creature 
was evidently near me, but nothing could be seen, 
so I hastened more rapidly upon my way. I had 
traversed half a mile or so when suddenly the 
sound was repeated, still behind me, but louder 
and more menacing than before. My heart stood 
still within me as it flashed across me that the 
beast, whatever it was, must surely be after me. 
My skin grew cold and my hair rose at the thought. 
That these monsters should tear each other to 
pieces was a part of the strange struggle for exist- 

It Was Dreadful in the Forest 207 

ence, but that they should turn upon modern 
man, that they should deliberately track and hunt 
down the predominant human, was a staggering 
and fearsome thought. I remembered again the 
blood-beslobbered face which we had seen in the 
glare of Lord John's torch, like some horrible 
vision from the deepest circle of Dante's hell. 
With my knees shaking beneath me, I stood and 
glared with starting eyes down the moonlit path 
which lay behind me. All was quiet as in a dream 
landscape. Silver clearings and the black patches 
of the bushes nothing else could I see. Then 
from out of the silence, imminent and threatening, 
there came once more that low, throaty croaking, 
far louder and closer than before. There could 
no longer be a doubt. Something was on my 
trail, and was closing in upon me every minute. 

I stood like a man paralyzed, still staring at the 
ground which I had traversed. Then suddenly I 
saw it. There was movement among the bushes 
at the far end of the clearing which I had just 
traversed . A great dark shadow disengaged itself 
and hopped out into the clear moonlight. I say 
"hopped" advisedly, for the beast moved like a 
kangaroo, springing along in an erect position 
upon its powerful hind-legs, while its front ones 
were held bent in front of it. It was of enormous 
size and power, like an erect elephant, but its 
movements, in spite of its bulk, were exceedingly 
alert. For a moment, as I saw its shape, I hoped 
that it was an iguanodon, which I knew to be 
harmless, but, ignorant as I was, I soon saw that 

208 The Lost World 

this was a very different creature. Instead of 
the gentle, deer-shaped head of the great three- 
toed leaf-eater, this beast had a broad, squat, 
toad-like face like that which had alarmed us in our 
camp. His ferocious cry and the horrible energy 
of his pursuit both assured me that this was surely 
one of the great flesh-eating dinosaurs, the most 
terrible beasts which have ever walked this earth. 
As the huge brute loped along it dropped forward 
upon its fore-paws and brought its nose to the 
ground every twenty yards or so. It was smelling 
out my trail. Sometimes, for an instant, it was 
at fault. Then it would catch it up again and 
come bounding swiftly along the path I had taken. 
Even now when I think of that nightmare the 
sweat breaks out upon my brow. What could I 
do? My useless fowling-piece was in my hand. 
What help could I get from that? I looked 
desperately round for some rock or tree, but I was 
in a bushy jungle with nothing higher than a 
sapling within sight, while I knew that the creature 
behind me could tear down an ordinary tree as 
though it were a reed. My only possible chance 
lay in flight. I could not move swiftly over the 
rough, broken ground, but as I looked round me 
in despair I saw a well-marked, hard-beaten path 
which ran across in front of me. We had seen 
several of the sort, the runs of various wild beasts, 
during our expeditions. Along this I could per- 
haps hold my own, for I was a fast runner, and 
in excellent condition. Flinging away my useless 
gun, I set myself to do such a half-mile as I have 

It Was Dreadful in the Forest 209 

never done before or since. My limbs ached, my 
chest heaved, I felt that my throat would burst 
for want of air, and yet with that horror behind 
me I ran and I ran and ran. At last I paused, 
hardly able to move. For a moment I thought that 
I had thrown him off. The path lay still behind 
me. And then suddenly, with a crashing and a 
rending, a thudding of giant feet and a panting 
of monster lungs the beast was upon me once more. 
He was at my very heels. I was lost. 

Madman that I was to linger so long before I 
fled! Up to then he had hunted by scent, and 
his movement was slow. But he had actually 
seen me as I started to run. From then onwards 
he had hunted by sight, for the path showed him 
where I had gone. Now, as he came round the 
curve, he was springing in great bounds. The 
moonlight shone upon his huge projecting eyes, 
the row of enormous teeth in his open mouth, 
and the gleaming fringe of claws upon his short, 
powerful forearms. With a scream of terror I 
turned and rushed wildly down the path. Behind 
me the thick, gasping breathing of the creature 
sounded louder and louder. His heavy footfall 
was beside me. Every instant I expected to feel 
his grip upon my back. And then suddenly there 
came a crash I was falling through space, and 
everything beyond was darkness and rest. 

A S I emerged from my unconsciousness which 

could not, I think, have lasted more than a few 

minutes I was aware of a most dreadful and 

210 The Lost World 

penetrating smell. Putting out my hand in the 
darkness I came upon something which felt like 
a huge lump of meat, while my other hand closed 
upon a large bone. Up above me there was a 
circle of starlit sky, which showed me that I was 
lying at the bottom of a deep pit. Slowly I 
staggered to my feet and felt myself all over. I 
was stiff and sore from head to foot, but there was 
no limb which would not move, no joint which 
would not bend. As the circumstances of my 
fall came back into my confused brain, I looked 
up in terror, expecting to see that dreadful head 
silhouetted against the paling sky. There was 
no sign of the monster, however, nor could I hear 
any sound from above. I began to walk slowly 
round, therefore, feeling in every direction to find 
out what this strange place could be into which I 
had been so opportunely precipitated. 
: It was, as I have said, a pit, with sharply-sloping 
walls and a level bottom about twenty feet across. 
This bottom was littered with great gobbets of flesh,' 
most of which was in the last state of putridity. 
The atmosphere was poisonous and horrible. 
After tripping and stumbling over these lumps of 
decay, I came suddenly against something hard,' 
and I found that an upright post was firmly fixed 
in the center of the hollow. It was so high that 
I could not reach the top of it with my hand, and 
it appeared to be covered with grease. 

Suddenly I remembered that I had a tin box of 
wax-vestas in my pocket. Striking one of them, 
I was able at last to form some opinion of this 

It Was Dreadful in the Forest 211 

place into which I had fallen. There could be 
no question as to its nature. It was a trap 
made by the hand of man. The post in the center, 
some nine feet long, was sharpened at the upper 
end, and was black with the stale blood of the 
creatures who had been impaled upon it. The 
remains scattered about were fragments of the 
victims, which had been cut away in order to clear 
the stake for the next who might blunder in. I 
remembered that Challenger had declared that 
man could not exist upon the plateau, since with 
his feeble weapons he could not hold his own against 
the monsters who roamed over it. But now it 
was clear enough how it could be done. In their 
narrow-mouthed caves the natives, whoever they 
might be, had refuges into which the huge saurians 
could not penetrate, while with their developed 
brains they were capable of setting such traps, 
covered with branches, across the paths which 
marked the run of the animals as would destroy 
them in spite of all their strength and activity. 
Man was always the master. 

The sloping wall of the pit was not difficult for 
an active man to climb, but I hesitated long before 
I trusted myself within reach of the dreadful crea- 
ture which had so nearly destroyed me. How did 
I know that he was not lurking in the nearest 
clump of bushes, waiting for my reappearance? 
I took heart, however, as I recalled a conversa- 
tion between Challenger and Summerlee upon the 
habits of the great saurians. Both were agreed 
that the monsters were practically brainless, that 

212 The Lost World 

there was no room for reason in their tiny cranial 
cavities, and that if they have disappeared from 
the rest of the world it was assuredly on account of 
their own stupidity, which made it impossible for 
them to adapt themselves to changing conditions. 
To lie in wait for me now would mean that the 
creature had appreciated what had happened to 
me, and this in turn would argue some power con- 
necting Cause and effect. Surely it was more likely 
that a brainless creature, acting solely by vague 
predatory instinct, would give up the chase when 
I disappeared, and, after a pause of astonishment, 
would wander away in search of some other prey ? 
I clambered to the edge of the pit and looked over. 
The stars were fading, the sky was whitening, and 
the cold wind of morning blew pleasantly upon my 
face. I could see or hear nothing of my enemy. 
Slowly I climbed out and sat for a while upon the 
ground, ready to spring back into my refuge if any 
danger should appear. Then, reassured by the 
absolute stillness and by the growing light, I took 
my courage in both hands and stole back along the 
path which I had come. Some distance down it I 
picked up my gun, and shortly afterwards struck 
the brook which was my guide. So, with many 
a frightened backward glance, I made for home. 

A ND suddenly there came something to remind 

me of my absent companions. In the clear, 

still morning air there sounded far away the sharp, 

hard note of a single rifle-shot. I paused and 

listened, but there was nothing more. For a 

It Was Dreadful in the Forest 213 

moment I was shocked at the thought that some 
sudden danger might have befallen them. But 
then a simpler and more natural explanation came 
to my mind. It was now broad daylight. No 
doubt my absence had been noticed. They had 
imagined^that/T was lost in the woods, and had 
fired this shot to guide me home. It is true that 
we had made a strict resolution against firing, but 
if it seemed to them that I might be in danger 
they would not hesitate. It was for me now to 
hurry on as fast as possible, and so to reassure 

I was weary and spent, so my progress was not 
so fast as I wished ; but at last I came into regions 
which I knew. There was the swamp of the ptero- 
dactyls upon my left ; there in front of me was the 
glade of the iguanodons. Now I was in the last 
belt of trees which separated me from Fort Chal- 
lenger.! I raised my voice in a cheery shout to 
allay^ their fears. No answering greeting came 
back to me. My heart sank at that ominous still- 
ness. I quickened my pace into a run. The 
zareba rose before me, even as I had left it, but 
the gate was open. I rushed in. In the cold, 
morning light it was a fearful sight which met my 
eyes. Our effects were scattered in wild confusion 
over the ground; my comrades had disappeared, 
and close to the smouldering ashes of our fire the 
grass was stained crimson with a hideous pool of 

I was so stunned by this sudden shock that for a 
time I must have nearly lost my reason. I have a 

214 The Lost World 

vague recollection, as one remembers a bad dream, 
of rushing about through the woods all round the 
empty camp, calling wildly for my companions. 
No answer came back from the silent shadows. 
The horrible thought that I might never see them 
again, that I might find myself abandoned all alone 
in that dreadful place, with no possible way of 
descending into the world below, that I might live 
and die in that nightmare country, drove me to 
desperation. I could have torn my hair and 
beaten my head in my despair. Only now did I 
realize how I had learned to lean upon my com- 
panions, upon the serene self-confidence of Chal- 
lenger, and upon the masterful, humorous coolness 
of Lord John Roxton. Without them I was like 
a child in the dark, helpless and powerless. I 
did not know which way to turn or what I should 
do first. 

After a period, during which I sat in bewilder- 
ment, I set myself to try and discover what sud- 
den misfortune could have befallen my companions. 
The whole disordered appearance of the camp 
showed that there had been some sort of attack, 
and the rifle-shot no doubt marked the time when 
it had occurred. That there should have been 
only one shot showed that it had been all over in 
an instant. The rifles still lay upon the ground, 
and one of them Lord John's had the empty 
cartridge in the breech. The blankets of Chal- 
lenger and of Summerlee beside the fire suggested 
that they had been asleep at the time. The cases 
of ammunition and of food were scattered about 

It Was Dreadful in the Forest 215 

in a wild litter, together with our unfortunate 
cameras and plate-carriers, but none of them were 
missing. On the other hand, all the exposed pro- 
visions and I remembered that there were a 
considerable quantity of them were gone. They 
were animals, then, and not natives, who had 
made the inroad, for surely the latter would have 
left nothing behind. 

But if animals, or some single terrible animal, 
then what had become of my comrades ? A fero- 
cious beast would surely have destroyed them and 
left their remains. It is true that there was that 
one hideous pool of blood, which told of violence. 
Such a monster as had pursued me during the 
night could have carried away a victim as easily 
as a cat would a mouse. In that case the others 
would have followed in pursuit. But then they 
would assuredly have taken their rifles with them. 
The more I tried to think it out with my con- 
fused and weary brain the less could I find any 
plausible explanation. I searched round in the 
forest, but could see no tracks which could help 
me to a conclusion. Once I lost myself, and it 
was only by good luck, and after an hour of 
wandering, that I found the camp once more. 

CUDDENLY a thought came to me and brought 
some little comfort to my heart. I was not 
absolutely alone in the world. Down at the 
bottom of the cliff, and within call of me, was 
waiting the faithful Zambo. I went to the edge 
of the plateau and looked over. Sure enough, 

216 The Lost" World 

he was squatting among his blankets beside his 
fire in his little camp. But, to my amazement, a 
second man was seated in front of him. For an 
instant my heart leaped for joy, as I thought that 
one of my comrades had made his way safely 
down. But a second glance dispelled the hope. 
The rising sun shone red upon the man's skin. 
He was an Indian. I shouted loudly and waved 
my handkerchief. Presently Zambo looked up, 
waved his hand, and turned to ascend the pin- 
nacle. In a short time he was standing close to 
me and listening with deep distress to the story 
which I told him. 

" Devil got them for sure, Massa Malone," said 
he. "You got into the devil's country, sah, and 
he take you all to himself. You take advice, 
Massa Malone, and come down quick, else he get 
you as well." 

"How can I come down, Zambo?" 

"You get creepers from trees, Massa Malone. 
Throw them over here. I make fast to this stump, 
and so you have bridge." 

"We have thought of that. There are no 
creepers here which could bear us." 

"Send for ropes, Massa Malone." 

"Who can I send, and where?" 

" Send to Indian villages, sah. Plenty hiderope 
in Indian village. Indian down below; send him." 

"Who is he?" 

"One of our Indians. Other ones beat him and 
take away his pay. He come back to us. Ready 
now to take letter, bring rope, anything." 

It Was Dreadful in the Forest 217 

To take a letter! Why not? Perhaps he 
might bring help ; but in any case he would ensure 
that our lives were not spent for nothing, and that 
news of all that we had won for Science should 
reach our friends at home. I had two completed 
letters already waiting. I would spend the day 
in writing a third, which would bring my experi- 
ences absolutely up to date. The Indian could 
bear this back to the world. I ordered Zambo, 
therefore, to come again in the evening, and I 
spent my miserable and lonely day in recording 
my own adventures of the night before. I also 
drew up a note, to be given to any white merchant 
or captain of a steam-boat whom the Indian could 
find, imploring them to see that ropes were sent 
to us, since our lives must depend upon it. These 
documents I threw to Zambo in the evening, and 
also my purse, which contained three English 
sovereigns. These were to be given to the Indian, 
and he was promised twice as much if he returned 
with the ropes. 

So now you will understand, my dear Mr. 
McArdle, how this communication reaches you, 
and you will also know the truth, in case you 
never hear again from your unfortunate corre- 
spondent. To-night I am too weary and too 
depressed to make my plans. To-morrow I must 
think out some way by which I shall keep in touch 
with this camp, and yet search round for any 
traces of my unhappy friends. 


"A Sight which I shall Never Forget" 

JUST as the sun was setting upon that melan- 
choly night I saw the lonely figure of the 
Indian upon the vast plain beneath me, and 
I watched him, our one faint hope of salvation, 
until he disappeared in the rising mists of even- 
ing which lay, rose-tinted from the setting sun, 
between the far-off river and me. 

It was quite dark when I at last turned back to 
our stricken camp, and my last vision as I went 
was the red gleam of Zambo's fire, the one point 
of light in the wide world below, as was his faithful 
presence in my own shadowed soul. And yet I 
felt happier than I had done since this crushing 
blow had fallen upon me, for it was good to think 
that the world should know what we had done, 
so that at the worst our names should not perish 
with our bodies, but should go down to posterity 
associated with the result of our labors. 

It was an awesome thing to sleep in that ill- 
fated camp ; and yet it was even more unnerving 
to do so in the jungle. One or the other it must 
be. Prudence, on the one hand, warned me that 
I should remain on guard, but exhausted Nature, 
on the other, declared that I should do nothing 

A Sight I Shall Never Forget 219 

of the kind. I climbed up on to a limb of the great 
gingko tree, but there was no secure perch on its 
rounded surface, and I should certainly have 
fallen off and broken my neck the moment I began 
to doze. I got down, therefore, and pondered 
over what I should do. Finally, I closed the door 
of the zareba, lit three separate fires in a triangle, 
and having eaten a hearty supper dropped off into 
a profound sleep, from which I had a strange and 
most welcome awakening. In the early morning, 
just as day was breaking, a hand was laid upon 
my arm, and starting up, with all my nerves in a 
tingle and my hand feeling for a rifle, I gave a 
cry of joy as in the cold gray light I saw Lord 
John Roxton kneeling beside me. 

TT was he and yet it was not he. I had left 
him calm in his bearing, correct in his person, 
prim in his dress. Now he was pale and wild- 
eyed, gasping as he breathed like one who has run 
far and fast. His gaunt face was scratched and 
bloody, his clothes were hanging in rags, and his 
hat was gone. I stared in amazement, but he 
gave me no chance for questions. He was grab- 
bing at our stores all the time he spoke. 

"Quick, young fellah! Quick!" he cried. 
"Every moment counts. Get the rifles, both of 
them. I have the other two. Now, all the cart- 
ridges you can gather. Fill up your pockets. 
Now, some food. Half a dozen tins will do. 
That's all right! Don't wait to talk or think. 
Get a move on, or we are done!" 

220 The Lost World 

Still half-awake, and unable to imagine what it 
all might mean, I found myself hurrying madly 
after him through the wood, a rifle under each 
arm and a pile of various stores in my hands. He 
dodged in and out through the thickest of the 
scrub until he came to a dense clump of brush- 
wood. Into this he rushed, regardless of thorns, 
and threw himself into the heart of it, pulling 
me down by his side. 

"There !" he panted. "I think we are safe here. 
They'll make for the camp as sure as fate. It 
will be their first idea. But this should puzzle 


"What is it all?" I asked, when I had got my 
breath. "Where are the professors? And who 
is it that is after us?" 

"The ape-men," he cried. "My God, what 
brutes! Don't raise your voice, for they have 
long ears sharp eyes, too, but no power of 
scent, so far as I could judge, so I don't think they 
can sniff us out. Where have you been, young 
fellah ? You were well out of it." 

In a few sentences I whispered what I had 

"Pretty bad," said he, when he had heard of 
the dinosaur and the pit. "It isn't quite the 
place for a rest cure. What ? But I had no idea 
what its possibilities were until those devils got 
hold of us. The man-eatin' Papuans had me 
once, but they are Chesterfields compared to this 

"How did it happen?" I asked. 

A Sight I Shall Never Forget 221 

"TT was in the early mornin'. Our learned 
friends were just stirrin'. Hadn't even begun 
to argue yet. Suddenly it rained apes. They 
came down as thick as apples out of a tree. They 
had been assemblin' in the dark, I suppose, until 
that great tree over our heads was heavy with 
them. I shot one of them through the belly, but 
before we knew where we were they had us spread- 
eagled on our backs. I call them apes, but they 
carried sticks and stones in their hands and jab- 
bered talk to each other, and ended up by tyin' 
our hands with creepers, so they are ahead of any 
beast that I have seen in my wanderin's. Ape- 
men that's what they are Missin' Links, 
and I wish they had stayed missin'. They car- 
ried off their wounded comrade he was bleedin* 
like a pig and then they sat around us, and if 
ever I saw frozen murder it was in their faces. 
They were big fellows, as big as a man and a deal 
stronger. Curious glassy gray eyes they have, 
under red tufts, and they just sat and gloated and 
gloated. Challenger is no chicken, but even he 
was cowed. He managed to struggle to his feet, 
and yelled out at them to have done with it and 
get it over. I think he had gone a bit off his 
head at the suddenness of it, for he raged and 
cursed at them like a lunatic. If they had been 
a row of his favorite Pressmen he could not have 
slanged them worse." 

"Well, what did they do?" I was enthralled 
by the strange story which my companion was 
whispering into my ear, while all the time his 

222 The Lost World 

keen eyes were shooting in every direction and 
his hand grasping his cocked rifle. 

"I thought it was the end of us, but instead of 
that it started them on a new line. They all 
jabbered and chattered together. Then one of 
them stood out beside Challenger. You'll smile, 
young fellah, but 'pon my word they might have 
been kinsmen. I couldn't have believed it if I 
hadn't seen it with my own eyes. This old ape- 
man he was their chief was a sort of red 
Challenger, with every one of our friend's beauty 
points, only just a trifle more so. He had the 
short body, the big shoulders, the round chest, 
no neck, a great ruddy frill of a beard, the tufted 
eyebrows, the "What do you want, damn you!' 
look about the eyes, and the whole catalogue. 
When the ape-man stood by Challenger and put 
his paw on his shoulder, the thing was complete. 
Summerlee was a bit hysterical, and he laughed 
till he cried. The ape-men laughed too or at 
least they put up the devil of a cacklin' - - and 
they set to work to drag us off through the forest. 
They wouldn't touch the guns and things 
thought them dangerous, I expect but they 
carried away all our loose food. Summerlee and 
I got some rough handlin' on the way there's 
my skin and my clothes to prove it for they 
took us a bee-line through the brambles, and their 
own hides are like leather. But Challenger was 
all right. Four of them carried him shoulder 
high, and he went like a Roman emperor. What's 

A Sight I Shall Never Forget 223 

It was a strange clicking noise in the distance 
not unlike castanets. 

"HPHERE they go!" said my companion, slip- 
ping cartridges into the second double bar- 
relled "Express." "Load them all up, young 
fellah my lad, for we're not going to be taken 
alive, and don't you think it! That's the row 
they make when they are excited. By George! 
they'll have something to excite them if they put 
us up. The 'Last Stand of the Grays' won't be 
in it. 'With their rifles grasped in their stiffened 
hands, 'mid a ring of the dead and dyin',' as some 
fathead sings. Can you hear them now?" 

"Very far away." 

"That little lot will do no good, but I expect 
their search parties are all over the wood. Well, 
I was telling you my tale of woe. They got us 
soon to this town of theirs about a thousand 
huts of branches and leaves in a great grove of 
trees near the edge of the cliff. It's three or 
four miles from here. The filthy beasts fingered 
me all over, and I feel as if I should never 
be clean again. They tied us up the fellow 
who handled me could tie like a bo'sun and 
there we lay with our toes up, beneath a tree, 
while a great brute stood guard over us with a 
club in his hand. When I say 'we' I mean Sum- 
merlee and myself. Old Challenger was up a 
tree, eatin' pines and havin' the time of his life. 
I'm bound to say that he managed to get some 
fruit to us, and with his own hands he loosened 

224 The Lost World 

our bonds. If you'd seen him sitting up in that 
tree hob-nobbin' with his twin brother and 
singin' in that rollin' bass of his, 'Ring out, wild 
bells/ 'cause music of any kind seemed to put 
'em in a good humor, you'd have smiled; but we 
weren't in much mood for laughin', as you can 
guess. They were inclined, within limits, to let 
him do what he liked, but they drew the line 
pretty sharply at us. It was a mighty consolation 
to us all to know that you were runnin' loose and 
had the archives in your keepin'. 

"Well, now, young fellah, I'll tell you what will 
surprise you. You say you saw signs of men, 
and fires, traps, and the like. Well, we have seen 
the natives themselves. Poor devils they were, 
down-faced little chaps, and had enough to make 
them so. It seems that the humans hold one side 
of this plateau over yonder, where you saw the 
caves and the ape-men hold this side, and there 
is bloody war between them all the time. That's 
the situation, so far as I could follow it. Well, 
yesterday the ape-men got hold of a dozen of the 
humans and brought them in as prisoners. You 
never heard such a jabberin' and shriekin' in your 
life. The men were little red fellows, and had 
been bitten and clawed so that they could 
hardly walk. The ape-men put two of them 
to death there and then fairly pulled the arm 
off one of them it was perfectly beastly. Plucky 
little chaps they are, and hardly gave a squeak. 
But it turned us absolutely sick. Summerlee 
fainted, and even Challenger had as much as 

A Sight I Shall Never Forget 225 

he could stand. I think they have cleared, don't 

We listened intently, but nothing save the call- 
ing of the birds broke the deep peace of the forest. 
Lord Roxton went on with his story. 

' THINK you have had the escape of your life, 
young fellah my lad. It was catchin' those 
Indians that put you clean out of their heads, else 
they would have been back to the camp for you 
as sure as fate and gathered you in. Of course, 
as you said, they have been watchin' us from the 
beginnin' out of that tree, and they knew per- 
fectly well that we were one short. However, 
they could think only of this new haul; so it was 
I, and not a bunch of apes, that dropped in on 
you in the morning. Well, we had a horrid busi- 
ness afterwards. My God ! what a nightmare the 
whole thing is! You remember the great bristle 
of sharp canes down below where we found the 
skeleton of the American ? Well, that is just under 
ape-town, and that's the jumpin'-off place of their 
prisoners. I expect there's heaps of skeletons 
there, if we looked for 'em. They have a sort of 
clear parade-ground on the top, and they make 
a proper ceremony about it. One by one the 
poor devils have to jump, and the game is to see 
whether they are merely dashed to pieces or 
whether they get skewered on the canes. They 
took us out to see it, and the whole tribe lined up 
on the edge. Four of the Indians jumped, and 
the canes went through 'em like knittin' needles 

226 The Lost World 

through a pat of butter. No wonder we found 
that poor Yankee's skeleton with the canes grow- 
in' between his ribs. It was horrible but it 
was doocedly interestin' too. We were all fasci- 
nated to see them take the dive, even when we 
thought it would be our turn next on the spring- 

"Well, it wasn't. They kept six of the Indians 
up for to-day that's how I understood it 
but I fancy we were to be the star performers in 
the show. Challenger might get off, but Summer- 
lee and I were in the bill. Their language is more 
than half signs, and it was not hard to follow them. 
So I thought it was time we made a break for it. 
I had been plottin' it out a bit, and had one or 
two things clear in my mind. It was all on me, 
for Summerlee was useless and Challenger not 
much better. The only time they got together 
they got slangin' because they couldn't agree upon 
the scientific classification of these red-headed 
devils that had got hold of us. One said it was 
the dryopithecus of Java, the other said it was 
pithecanthropus. Madness, I call it Loonies, 
both. But, as I say, I had thought out one or 
two points that were helpful. One was that these 
brutes could not run as fast as a man in the open. 
They have short, bandy legs, you see, and heavy 
bodies. Even Challenger could give a few yards 
in a hundred to the best of them, and you or I 
would be a perfect Shrubb. Another point was 
that they knew nothin' about guns. I don't 
believe they ever understood how the fellow I shot 

A Sight I Shall Never Forget 227 

came by his hurt. If we could get at our guns 
there was no sayin' what we could do. 

"So I broke away early this mornin', gave my 
guard a kick in the tummy that laid him out, and 
sprinted for the camp. There I got you and the 
guns, and here we are." 

"But the professors!" I cried, in consternation. 

"Well, we must just go back and fetch 'em. I 
couldn't bring 'em with me. Challenger was up 
the tree, and Summerlee was not fit for the effort. 
The only chance was to get the guns and try a 
rescue. Of course they may scupper them at 
once in revenge. I don't think they would touch 
Challenger, but I wouldn't answer for Summerlee. 
But they would have had him in any case. Of 
that I am certain. So I haven't made matters 
any worse by boltin'. But we are honor bound 
to go back and have them out or see it through 
with them. So you can make up your soul, 
young fellah my lad, for it will be one way or the 
other before evenin'." 

T HAVE tried to imitate here Lord Roxton's jerky 
talk, his short, strong sentences, the half- 
humorous, half-reckless tone that ran through it 
all. But he was a born leader. As danger thick- 
ened his jaunty manner would increase, his speech 
become more racy, his cold eyes glitter into ardent 
life, and his Don Quixote moustache bristle with 
joyous excitement. His love of danger, his in- 
tense appreciation of the drama of an adventure 
all the more intense for being held tightly in 

228 The Lost World 

his consistent view that every peril in life is a form 
of sport, a fierce game betwixt you and Fate, with 
Death as a forfeit, made him a wonderful com- 
panion at such hours. If it were not for our fears 
as to the fate of our companions, it would have 
been a positive joy to throw myself with such a 
man into such an affair. We were rising from 
our brushwood hiding-place when suddenly I felt 
his grip upon my arm. 

"By George!" he whispered, "here they come!" 

From where we lay we could look down a brown 
aisle, arched with green, formed by the trunks 
and branches. Along this a party of the ape-men 
were passing. They went in single file, with bent 
legs and rounded backs, their hands occasionally 
touching the ground, their heads turning to left 
and right as they trotted along. Their crouching 
gait took away from their height, but I should 
put them at five feet or so, with long arms and 
enormous chests. Many of them carried sticks, 
and at the distance they looked like a line of very 
hairy and deformed human beings. For a mo- 
ment I caught this clear glimpse of them. Then 
they were lost among the bushes. 

"Not this time," said Lord John, who had 
caught up his rifle. "Our best chance is to lie 
quiet until they have given up the search. Then 
we shall see whether we can't get back to their 
town and hit 'em where it hurts most. Give 'em 
an hour and we'll march." 

We filled in the time by opening one of our food 
tins and making sure of our breakfast. Lord 

A Sight I Shall Never Forget 229 

Roxton had had nothing but some fruit since the 
morning before and ate like a starving man. 
Then, at last, our pockets bulging with cartridges 
and a rifle in each hand, we started off upon our 
mission of rescue. Before leaving it we carefully 
marked our little hiding-place among the brush- 
wood and its bearing to Fort Challenger, that we 
might find it again if we needed it. We slunk 
through the bushes in silence until we came to the 
very edge of the cliff, close to the old camp. There 
we halted, and Lord John gave me some idea of 
his plans. 

" So long as we are among the thick trees these 
swine are our masters," said he. "They can see 
us and we cannot see them. But in the open it is 
different/ There we can move faster than they. 
So we must stick to the open all we can. The 
edge of the plateau has fewer large trees than 
further inland. So that's our line of advance. 
Go slowly, keep your eyes open and your rifle 
ready. Above all, never let them get you prisoner 
while there is a cartridge left that's my last 
word to you, young fellah." 

When we reached the edge of the cliff I looked 
over and saw our good old black Zambo sitting 
smoking on a rock below us. I would have given 
a great deal to have hailed him and told him how 
we were placed, but it was too dangerous, lest we 
should be heard. The woods seemed to be full 
of the ape-men ; again and again we heard their 
curious clicking chatter. At such times we 
plunged into the nearest clump of bushes and lay 

230 The Lost World 

still until the sound had passed away. Our ad- 
vance, therefore, was very slow, and two hours 
at least must have passed before I saw by Lord 
John's cautious movements that we must be close 
to our destination. He motioned to me to lie 
still, and he crawled forward himself. In a min- 
ute he was back again, his face quivering with 

"Come!" said he. "Come quick! I hope to 
the Lord we are not too late already!" 

T FOUND myself shaking with nervous excite- 
ment as I scrambled forward and lay down 
beside him, looking out through the bushes at a 
clearing which stretched before us. 

It was a sight which I shall never forget until 
my dying day so weird, so impossible, that I do 
not know how I am to make you realize it, or how 
in a few years I shall bring myself to believe in it 
if I live to sit once more on a lounge in the Savage 
Club and look out on the drab solidity of the 
Embankment. I know that it will seem then to 
be some wild nightmare, some delirium of fever. 
Yet I will set it down now, while it is still fresh in 
my memory, and one at least, the man who lay 
in the damp grasses by my side, will know if I 
have lied. 

A wide, open space lay before us some hun- 
dreds of yards across all green turf and low 
bracken growing to the very edge of the cliff. 
Round this clearing there was a semi-circle of 
trees with curious huts built of foliage piled one 

A Sight I Shall Never Forget 231 

above the other among the branches. A rookery, 
with every nest a little house, would best convey 
the idea. The openings of these huts and the 
branches of the trees were thronged with a dense 
mob of ape-people, whom from their size I took 
to be the females and infants of the tribe. They 
formed the background of the picture, and were 
all looking out with eager interest at the same 
scene which fascinated and bewildered us. 

In the open, and near the edge of the cliff, there 
had assembled a crowd of some hundred of these 
shaggy, red-haired creatures, many of them of 
immense size, and all of them horrible to look 
upon. There was a certain discipline among them, 
for none of them attempted to break the line which 
had been formed. In front there stood a small 
group of Indians little, clean-limbed, red fellows, 
whose skins glowed like polished bronze in the 
strong sunlight. A tall, thin white man was 
standing beside them, his head bowed, his arms 
folded, his whole attitude expressive of his hor- 
ror and dejection. There was no mistaking the 
angular form of Professor Summerlee. 

In front of and around this dejected group of 
prisoners were several ape-men, who watched 
them closely and made all escape impossible. 
Then, right out from all the others and close to 
the edge of the cliff, were two figures, so strange, 
and under other circumstances so ludicrous, that 
they absorbed my attention. The one was our 
comrade, Professor Challenger. The remains of 
his coat still hung in strips from his shoulders, but 

232 The Lost World 

his shirt had been all torn out, and his great beard 
merged itself in the black tangle which covered 
his mighty chest. He had lost his hat, and his 
hair, which had grown long in our wanderings, 
was flying in wild disorder. A single day seemed 
to have changed him from the highest product of 
modern civilization to the most desperate savage 
in South America. Beside him stood his master, 
the king of the ape-men. In all things he was, as 
Lord John had said, the very image of our Pro- 
fessor, save that his coloring was red instead of 
black. The same short, broad figure, the same 
heavy shoulders, the same forward hang of the 
arms, the same bristling beard merging itself in 
the hairy chest. Only above the eyebrows, where 
the sloping forehead and low, curved skull of the 
ape-man were in sharp contrast to the broad brow 
and magnificent cranium of the European, could 
one see any marked difference. At every other 
point the king was an absurd parody of the 

A LL this, which takes me so long to describe, 
impressed itself upon me in a few seconds. 
Then we had very different things to think of, for 
an active drama was in progress. Two of the ape- 
men had seized one of the Indians out of the 
group and dragged him forward to the edge of the 
cliff. The king raised his hand as a signal. They 
caught the man by his leg and arm, and swung 
him three times backwards and forwards with 
tremendous violence. Then, with a frightful heave 


A Sight I Shall Never Forget 233 

they shot the poor wretch over the precipice. 
With such force did they throw him that he 
curved high in the air before beginning to drop. As 
he vanished from sight, the whole assembly, ex- 
cept the guards, rushed forward to the edge of 
the precipice, and there was a long pause of abso- 
lute silence, broken by a mad yell of delight. 
They sprang about, tossing their long, hairy arms 
in the air and howling with exultation. Then 
they fell back from the edge, formed themselves 
again into line, and waited for the next victim. 

This time it was Summerlee. Two of his 
guards caught him by the wrists and pulled him 
brutally to the front. His thin figure and long 
limbs struggled and fluttered like a chicken being 
dragged from a coop. Challenger had turned to 
the king and waved his hands frantically before 
him. He was begging, pleading, imploring for his 
comrade's life. The ape-man pushed him roughly 
aside and shook his head. It was the last con- 
scious movement he was to make upon earth. 
Lord John's rifle cracked, and the king sank down, 
a tangled red sprawling thing, upon the ground. 

" Shoot into the thick of them ! Shoot ! sonny, 
shoot!" cried my companion. 

'T'HERE are strange red depths in the soul of 
the most commonplace man. I am tender- 
hearted by nature, and have found my eyes moist 
many a time over the scream of a wounded hare. 
Yet the blood lust was on me now. I found my- 
self on my feet emptying one magazine, then the 

234 The Lost World 

other, clicking open the breech to re-load, snapping 
it to again, while cheering and yelling with pure 
ferocity and joy of slaughter as I did so. With 
our four guns the two of us made a horrible havoc. 
Both the guards who held Summerlee were down, 
and he was staggering about like a drunken man 
in his amazement, unable to realize that he was a 
free man. The dense mob of ape-men ran about 
in bewilderment, marveling whence this storm 
of death was coming or what it might mean. 
They waved, gesticulated, screamed, and tripped 
up over those who had fallen. Then, with a 
sudden impulse, they all rushed in a howling crowd 
to the trees for shelter, leaving the ground behind 
them spotted with their stricken comrades. The 
prisoners were left for the moment standing alone 
in the middle of the clearing. 

Challenger's quick brain had grasped the situa- 
tion. He seized the bewildered Summerlee by 
the arm, and they both ran towards us. Two of 
their guards bounded after them and fell to two 
bullets from Lord John. We ran forward into 
the open to meet our friends, and pressed a loaded 
rifle into the hands of each. But Summerlee was 
at the end of his strength. He could hardly totter. 
Already the ape-men were recovering from their 
panic. They were coming through the brushwood 
and threatening to cut us off. Challenger and 
I ran Summerlee along, one at each of his elbows, 
while Lord John covered our retreat, firing again 
and again as savage heads snarled at us out of the 
bushes. For a mile or more the chattering brutes 

A Sight I Shall Never Forget 235 

were at our very heels. Then the pursuit slack- 
ened, for they learned our power and would no 
longer face that unerring rifle. When we had at 
last reached the camp, we looked back and found 
ourselves alone. 

CO it seemed to us; and yet we were mistaken. 
We had hardly closed the thornbush door of 
our zareba, clasped each other's hands, and thrown 
ourselves panting upon the ground beside our 
spring, when we heard a patter of feet and then a 
gentle, plaintive crying from outside our entrance. 
Lord Roxton rushed forward, rifle in hand, and 
threw it open. There, prostrate upon their faces, 
lay the little red figures of the four surviving 
Indians, trembling with fear of us and yet implor- 
ing our protection. With an expressive sweep 
of his hands one of them pointed to the woods 
around them, and indicated that they were full 
of danger. Then, darting forward, he threw his 
arms round Lord John's legs, and rested his face 
upon them. 

"By George!" cried our peer, pulling at his 
moustache in great perplexity, "I say what the 
deuce are we to do with these people? Get up, 
little chappie, and take your face off my boots." 

Summerlee was sitting up and stuffing some 
tobacco into his old briar. 

"We've got to see them safe," said he. "You've 
pulled us all out of the jaws of death. My word! 
it was a good bit of work!" 

"Admirable!" cried Challenger. "Admirable! 

236 The Lost World 

Not only we as individuals, but European science 
collectively, owe you a deep debt of gratitude for 
what you have done. I do not hesitate to say 
that the disappearance of Professor Summerlee 
and myself would have left an appreciable gap in 
modern zoological history. Our young friend here 
and you have done most excellently well." 

He beamed at us with the old paternal smile, 
but European science would have been somewhat 
amazed could they have seen their chosen child, 
the hope of the future, with his tangled, unkempt 
head, his bare chest, and his tattered clothes. He 
had one of the meat-tins between his knees, and 
sat with a large piece of cold Australian mutton 
between his fingers. The Indian looked up at 
him, and then, with a little yelp, cringed to the 
ground and clung to Lord John's leg. 

"Don't you be scared, my bonnie boy," said 
Lord John, patting the matted head in front of 
him. "He can't stick your appearance, Chal- 
lenger; and, by George! I don't wonder. All 
right, little chap, he's only a human, just the same 
as the rest of us." 

"Really, sir!" cried the Professor. 

"Well, it's lucky for you, Challenger, that you 
are a little out of the ordinary. If you hadn't 
been so like the king " 

"Upon my word, Lord John, you allow your- 
self great latitude." 

"Well, it's a fact." 

"I beg, sir, that you will change the subject. 
Your remarks are irrelevant and unintelligible. 

A Sight I Shall Never Forget 237 

The question before us is what are we to do with 
these Indians? The obvious thing is to escort 
them home, if we knew where their home was." 

"There is no difficulty about that/' said I. 
"They live in the caves on the other side of the 
central lake/' 

"Our young friend here knows where they live. 
I gather that it is some distance." 

"A good twenty miles," said I. 

Summerlee gave a groan. 

"I, for one, could never get there. Surely I 
hear those brutes still howling upon our track." 

As he spoke, from the dark recesses of the woods 
we heard far away the jibbering cry of the ape- 
men. The Indians once more set up a feeble wail 
of fear. 

"We must move, and move quick!" said Lord 
John. "You help Summerlee, young fellah. 
These Indians will carry stores. Now, then, 
come along before they can see us." 

TN less than half-an-hour we had reached our 
brushwood retreat and concealed ourselves. 
All day we heard the excited calling of the ape- 
men in the direction of our old camp, but none 
of them came our way, and the tired fugitives, red 
and white, had a long, deep sleep. I was dozing 
myself in the evening when someone plucked my 
sleeve, and I found Challenger kneeling beside me. 
"You keep a diary of these events, and you 
expect eventually to publish it, Mr. Malone," said 
he, with solemnity. 

238 The Lost World 

i "I am only here as a Press reporter," I answered. 

"Exactly. You may have heard some rather 
fatuous remarks of Lord John Roxton's which 
seemed to imply that there was some some 

r 'Yes, I heard them." 

"I need not say that any publicity given to 
such an idea any levity in your narrative of 
what occurred would be exceedingly offensive 
to me." 
I "I will keep well within the truth." 

"Lord John's observations are frequently ex- 
ceedingly fanciful, and he is capable of attribut- 
ing the most absurd reasons to the respect which 
is always shown by the most undeveloped races to 
dignity and character. You follow my meaning ?" 


"I leave the matter to your discretion." Then, 
after a long pause, he added: "The king of the 
ape-men was really a creature of great distinction 
a mostTremarkably handsome and intelligent 
personality. Did it not strike you?" 

"A most remarkable creature," said I. 

And the Professor, much eased in his mind, 
settled down to his slumber once more. 


"Those Were the Real Conquests" 

WE had imagined that our pursuers, the 
ape-men, knew nothing of our brush- 
wood hiding-place, but we were soon 
to find out our mistake. There was no sound in 
the woods not a leaf moved upon the trees, and 
all was peace around us but we should have 
been warned by our first experience how cunningly 
and how patiently these creatures can watch and 
wait until their chance comes. Whatever fate 
may be mine through life, I am very sure that I 
shall never be nearer death than I was that morn- 
ing. But I will tell you the thing in its due order. 
We all awoke exhausted after the terrific emo- 
tions and scanty food of yesterday. Summerlee 
was still so weak that it was an effort for him to 
stand ; but the old man was full of a sort of surly 
courage which would never admit defeat. A 
council was held, and it was agreed that we should 
wait quietly for an hour or two where we were, 
have our much-needed breakfast, and then make 
our way across the plateau and round the central 
lake to the caves where my observations had shown 
that the Indians lived. We relied upon the fact 
that we could count upon the good word of those 
whom we had rescued to ensure a warm welcome 

240 The Lost World 

from their fellows. Then, with our mission ac- 
complished and possessing a fuller knowledge of 
the secrets of Maple White Land, we should turn 
our whole thoughts to the vital problem of our 
escape and return. Even Challenger was ready 
to admit that we should then have done all for 
which we had come, and that our first duty from 
that time onwards was to carry back to civilization 
the amazing discoveries we had made. 

We were able now to take a more leisurely view 
of the Indians whom we had rescued. They were 
small men, wiry, active, and well-built, with lank 
black hair tied up in a bunch behind their heads 
with a leathern thong, and leathern also were 
their loin-clothes. Their faces were hairless, well 
formed, and good-humored. The lobes of their 
ears, hanging ragged and bloody, showed that 
they had been pierced for some ornaments which 
their captors had torn out. Their speech, though 
unintelligible to us, was fluent among themselves, 
and as they pointed to each other and uttered the 
word "Accala" many times over, we gathered 
that this was the name of the nation. Occasion- 
ally, with faces which were convulsed with fear 
and hatred, they shook their clenched hands at 
the woods round and cried: "Doda! Doda!" 
which was surely their term for their enemies. 

do you make of them, Challenger?" 
asked Lord John. "One thing is very clear 
to me, and that is that the little chap with the 
front of his head shaved is a chief among them. 5 * 

Those Were the Real Conquests 241 

It was indeed evident that this man stood apart 
from the others, and that they never ventured to 
address him without every sign of deep respect. 
He seemed to be the youngest of them all, and yet, 
so proud and high was his spirit that, upon Chal- 
! lenger laying his great hand upon his head, he 
started like a spurred horse and, with a quick flash 
of his dark eyes, moved further away from the 
Professor. Then, placing his hand upon his breast 
and holding himself with great dignity, he uttered 
the word "Maretas" several times. The Pro- 
fessor, unabashed, seized the nearest Indian by 
the shoulder and proceeded to lecture upon him 
as if he were a potted specimen in a class-room. 

"The type of these people/' said he in his sono- 
rous fashion, "whether judged by cranial capacity, 
facial angle, or any other test, cannot be regarded 
as a low one; on the contrary, we must place it as 
considerably higher in the scale than many South 
American tribes which I can mention. On no 
possible supposition can we explain the evolution 
of such a race in this place. For that matter, so 
great a gap separates these ape-men from the 
primitive animals which have survived upon this 
plateau, that it is inadmissible to think that they 
could have developed where we find them." 

"Then where the dooce did they drop from?" 
asked Lord John. 

"A question which will, no doubt, be eagerly 
discussed in every scientific society in Europe and 
America," the Professor answered. "My own 
reading of the situation for what it is worth " 

242 The Lost World 

he inflated his chest enormously and looked inso- 
lently around him at the words "is that evolu- 
tion has advanced under the peculiar conditions 
of this country up to the vertebrate stage, the old 
types surviving and living on in company with 
the newer ones. Thus we find such modern 
creatures as the tapir an animal with quite a 
respectable length of pedigree the great deer, 
and the ant-eater in the companionship of rep- 
tilian forms of Jurassic type. So much is clear. 
And now come the ape-men and the Indian. 
'What is the scientific mind to think of their 
presence ? I can only account for it by an inva- 
sion from outside. It is probable that there 
existed an anthropoid ape in South America, who 
in past ages found his way to this place, and that 
he developed into the creatures we have seen, 
some of which " here he looked hard at me 
"were of an appearance and shape which, if it 
had been accompanied by corresponding intelli- 
gence, would, I do not hesitate to say, have 
reflected credit upon any living race. As to the 
Indians I cannot doubt that they are more recent 
immigrants from below. Under the stress of 
famine or of conquest they have made their way 
up here. Faced by ferocious creatures which 
they had never before seen, they took refuge in 
the caves which our young friend has described, 
but they have no doubt had a bitter fight to hold 
their own against wild beasts, and especially 
against the ape-men who would regard them as in- 
truders, and wage a merciless war upon them with a 

Those Were the Real Conquests 243 

cunning which the larger beasts would lack. Hence 
the fact that their numbers appear to be limited. 
Well, gentlemen, have I read you the riddle aright, 
or is there any point which you would query?" 

Professor Summerlee for once was too depressed 
to argue, though he shook his head violently as a 
token of general disagreement. Lord John merely 
scratched his scanty locks with the remark that 
he couldn't put up a fight as he wasn't in the same 
weight or class. For my own part I performed 
my usual role of bringing things down to a strictly 
prosaic and practical level by the remark that one 
of the Indians was missing. 

has gone to fetch some water," said Lord 
Roxton. "We fitted him up with an empty 
beef tin and he is off." 

"To the old camp?" I asked. 

"No, to the brook. It's among the trees there. 
It can't be more than a couple of hundred yards. 
But the beggar is certainly taking his time." 

"I'll go and look after him," said I. I picked 
up my rifle and strolled in the direction of the 
brook, leaving my friends to lay out the scanty 
breakfast. It may seem to you rash that even 
for so short a distance I should quit the shelter of 
our friendly thicket, but you will remember that 
we were many miles from Ape-town, that so far 
as we knew the creatures had not discovered our 
retreat, and that in any case with a rifle in my 
hands I had no fear of them. I had not yet 
learned their cunning or their strength. 

244 The Lost World 

I could hear the murmur of our brook some- 
where ahead of me, but there was a tangle of trees 
and brushwood between me and it. I was mak- 
ing my way through this at a point which was just 
out of sight of my companions, when, under one 
of the trees, I noticed something red huddled 
among the bushes. As I approached it, I was 
shocked to see that it was the dead body of the 
missing Indian. He lay upon his side, his limbs 
drawn up, and his head screwed round at a most 
unnatural angle, so that he seemed to be looking 
straight over his own shoulder. I gave a cry to 
warn my friends that something was amiss, and 
running forwards I stooped over the body. Surely 
my guardian angel was very near me then, for 
some instinct of fear, or it may have been some 
faint rustle of leaves, made me glance upwards. 
Out of the thick green foliage which hung low over 
my head, two long muscular arms covered with 
reddish hair were slowly descending. Another 
instant and the great stealthy hands would have 
been round my throat. I sprang backwards, 
but quick as I was, those hands were quicker still. 
Through my sudden spring they missed a fatal 
grip, but one of them caught the back of my neck 
and the other one my face. I threw my hands up 
to protect my throat, and the next moment the 
huge paw had slid down my face and closed over 
them. I was lifted lightly from the ground, and 
I felt an intolerable pressure forcing my head 
back and back until the strain upon the cervical 
spine was more than I could bear. My senses 

Those Were the Real Conquests 245 

swam, but I still tore at the hand and forced it 
out from my chin. Looking up I saw a frightful 
face with cold inexorable light blue eyes looking 
down into mine. There was something hypnotic 
in those terrible eyes. I could struggle no longer. 
As the creature felt me grow limp in his grasp, 
two white canines gleamed for a moment at each 
side of the vile mouth, and the grip tightened still 
more upon my chin, forcing it always upwards 
and back. A thin, oval-tinted mist formed before 
my eyes and little silvery bells tinkled in my ears. 
Dully and far off I heard the crack of a rifle and 
was feebly aware of the shock as I was dropped 
to the earth, where I lay without sense or 

T AWOKE to find myself on my back upon the 
grass in our lair within the thicket. Someone 
had brought the water from the brook, and Lord 
John was sprinkling my head with it, while Chal- 
lenger and Summerlee were propping me up, with 
concern in their faces. For a moment I had a 
glimpse of the human spirits behind their scien- 
tific masks. It was really shock, rather than any 
injury, which had prostrated me, and in half-an- 
hour, in spite of aching head and stiff neck, I was 
sitting up and ready for anything. 

" But you've had the escape of your life, young 
fellah my lad," said Lord Roxton. "When I 
heard your cry and ran forward, and saw your 
head twisted half-off and your stohwassers kickin' 
in the air, I thought we were one short. I missed 

246 The Lost World 

the beast in my flurry, but he dropped you all 
right and was off like a streak. By George! I 
wish I had fifty men with rifles. I'd clear out 
the whole infernal gang of them and leave this 
country a bit cleaner than we found it." 

It was clear now that the ape-men had in some 
way marked us down, and that we were watched 
on every side. We had not so much to fear from 
them during the day, but they would be very 
likely to rush us by night; so the sooner we got 
away from their neighborhood the better. On 
three sides of us was absolute forest, and there we 
might find ourselves in an ambush. But on the 
fourth side that which sloped down in the 
direction of the lake there was only low scrub, 
with scattered trees and occasional open glades. 
It was, in fact, the route which I had myself 
taken in my solitary journey, and it led us straight 
for the Indian caves. This then must for every 
reason be our road. 

One great regret we had, and that was to leave 
our old camp behind us, not only for the sake of 
the stores which remained there, but even more 
because we were losing touch with Zambo, our 
link with the outside world. However, we had a 
fair supply of cartridges and all our guns, so, for 
a time at least, we could look after ourselves, and 
we hoped soon to have a chance of returning and 
restoring our communications with our negro. 
He had faithfully promised to stay where he was, 
and we had not a doubt that he would be as good 
as his word. 


Those Were the Real Conquests 247 

TT was in the early afternoon that we started 
upon our journey. The young chief walked 
at our head as our guide, but refused indignantly 
to carry any burden. Behind him came the two 
surviving Indians with our scanty possessions 
upon their backs. We four white men walked 
in the rear with rifles loaded and ready. As we 
started there broke from the thick silent woods 
behind us a sudden great ululation of the ape-men, 
which may have been a cheer of triumph at our 
departure or a jeer of contempt at our flight. 
Looking back we saw only the dense screen of 
trees, but that long-drawn yell told us how many 
of our enemies lurked among them. We saw no 
sign of pursuit, however, and soon we had got 
into more open country and beyond their power. 
As I tramped along, the rearmost of the four, I 
could not help smiling at the appearance of my 
three companions in front. Was this the luxurious 
Lord John Roxton who had sat that evening in 
the Albany amidst his Persian rugs and his pictures 
in the pink radiance of the tinted lights? And 
was this the imposing Professor who had swelled 
behind the great desk in his massive study at 
Enmore Park? And, finally, could this be the 
austere and prim figure which had risen before 
the meeting at the Zoological Institute ? No three 
tramps that one could have met in a Surrey lane 
could have looked more hopeless and bedraggled. 
We had, it is true, been only a week or so upon 
the top of the plateau, but all our spare clothing 
was in our camp below, and the one week had 

248 The Lost World 

been a severe one upon us all, though least to me 
who had not to endure the handling of the ape- 
men. My three friends had all lost their hats, and 
had now bound handkerchiefs round their heads, 
their clothes hung in ribbons about them, and 
their unshaven grimy faces were hardly to be 
recognized. Both Summerlee and Challenger 
were limping heavily, while I still dragged my 
feet from weakness after the shock of the morning, 
and my neck was as stiff as a board from the mur- 
derous grip that held it. We were indeed a sorry 
crew, and I did not wonder to see our Indian com- 
panions glance back at us occasionally with horror 
and amazement on their faces. 

TN the late afternoon we reached the margin of 
the lake, and as we emerged from the bush 
and saw the sheet of water stretching before us 
our native friends set up a shrill cry of joy and 
pointed eagerly in front of them. It was indeed 
a wonderful sight which lay before us. Sweeping 
over the glassy surface was a great flotilla of 
canoes coming straight for the shore upon which 
we stood. They were some miles out when we 
first saw them, but they shot forward with great 
swiftness, and were soon so near that the rowers 
could distinguish our persons. Instantly a thun- 
derous shout of delight burst from them, and we 
saw them rise from their seats, waving their 
paddles and spears madly in the air. Then 
bending to their work once more, they flew across 
the intervening water, beached their boats upon 

Those Were the Real Conquests 249 

the sloping sand, and rushed up to us, prostrating 
themselves with loud cries of greeting before the 
young chief. Finally one of them, an elderly 
man, with a necklace and bracelet of great lustrous 
glass beads and the skin of some beautiful mottled 
amber-colored animal slung over his shoulders, 
ran forward and embraced most tenderly the 
youth whom we had saved. He then looked at 
us and asked some questions, after which he 
stepped up with much dignity and embraced us 
also each in turn. Then, at his order, the whole 
tribe lay down upon the ground before us in 
homage. Personally I felt shy and uncomfort- 
able at this obsequious adoration, and I read the 
same feeling in the faces of Roxton and Summerlee, 
but Challenger expanded like a flower in the sun. 
"They may be undeveloped types," said he, 
stroking his beard and looking round at them, 
"but their deportment in the presence of their 
superiors might be a lesson to some of our more 
advanced Europeans. Strange how correct are 
the instincts of the natural man!" 

IT was clear that the natives had come out upon 
the war-path, for every man carried his spear 
a long bamboo tipped with bone his bow and 
arrows, and some sort of club or stone battle-axe 
slung at his side. Their dark, angry glances at 
the woods frcm which we had come, and the fre- 
quent repetition of the word "Doda," made it 
clear enough that this was a rescue party who had 
set forth to save or revenge the old chiefs son, 

250 The Lost World 

for such we gathered that the youth must be. 
A council was now held by the whole tribe squat- 
ting in a circle, whilst we sat near on a slab of 
basalt and watched their proceedings. Two or 
three warriors spoke, and finally our young friend 
made a spirited harangue with such eloquent 
features and gestures that we could understand it 
all as clearly as if we had known his language. 

"What is the use of returning?" he said. 
"Sooner or later the thing must be done. Your 
comrades have been murdered. What if I have 
returned safe? These others have been done to 
death. There is no safety for any of us. We 
are assembled now and ready." Then he pointed 
to us. "These strange men are our friends. 
They are great fighters, and they hate the ape- 
men even as we do. They command," here he 
pointed up to heaven, "the thunder and the light- 
ning. When shall we have such a chance again? 
Let us go forward, and either die now or live for 
the future in safety. How else shall we go back 
unashamed to our women?" 

The little red warriors hung upon the words of 
the speaker, and when he had finished they burst 
into a roar of applause, waving their rude weapons 
in the air. The old chief stepped forward to us, 
and asked us some questions, pointing at the same 
time to the woods. Lord John made a sign to 
him that he should wait for an answer and then 
he turned to us. 

"Well, it's up to you to say what you will do," 
said he; "for my part I have a score to settle with 

Those Were the Real Conquests 251 

these monkey-folk, and if it ends by wiping them 
off the face of the earth I don't see that the earth 
need fret about it. I'm goin' with our little red 
pals and I mean to see them through the scrap. 
What do you say, young fellah?" 

"Of course I will come." 

"And you, Challenger?" 

"I will assuredly co-operate.'* 

"And you, Summerlee?" 

"We seem to be drifting very far from the object 
of this expedition, Lord John. I assure you that 
I little thought when I left my professional chair 
in London that it was for the purpose of heading a 
raid of savages upon a colony of anthropoid apes." 

"To such base uses do we come," said Lord 
John, smiling. "But we are up against it, so 
what's the decision?" 

"It seems a most questionable step," said Sum- 
merlee, argumentative to the last, "but if you are 
all going, I hardly see how I can remain behind." 

"Then it is settled," said Lord John, and turn- 
ing to the chief he nodded and slapped his rifle, i 

TPHE old fellow clasped our hands, each in turn, 
while his men cheered louder than ever. It 
was too late to advance that night, so the Indians 
settled down into a rude bivouac. On all sides 
their fires began to glimmer and smoke. Some of 
them who had disappeared into the jungle came 
back presently driving a young iguanodon before 
them. Like the others, it had a daub of asphalt 
upon its shoulder, and it was only when we saw 

252 The Lost World 

one of the natives step forward with the air of an 
owner and give his consent to the beast's slaughter 
that we understood at last that these great crea- 
tures were as much private property as a herd of 
cattle, and that these symbols which had so 
perplexed us were nothing more than the marks 
of the owner. Helpless, torpid, and vegetarian, 
with great limbs but a minute brain, they could 
be rounded up and driven by a child. In a few 
minutes the huge beast had been cut up and slabs 
of him were hanging over a dozen camp fires, 
together with great scaly ganoid fish which had 
been speared in the lake. 

Summerlee had lain down and slept upon the 
sand, but we others roamed round the edge of the 
water, seeking to learn something more of this 
strange country. Twice we found pits of blue 
clay, such as we had already seen in the swamp 
of the pterodactyls. These were old volcanic 
vents, and for some reason excited the greatest 
interest in Lord John. What attracted Chal- 
lenger, on the other hand, was a bubbling, gurg- 
ling mud geyser, where some strange gas formed 
great bursting bubbles upon the surface. He 
thrust a hollow reed into it and cried out with 
delight like a schoolboy when he was able, on 
touching it with a lighted match, to cause a sharp 
explosion and a blue flame at the far end of the 
tube. Still more pleased was he when, inverting 
a leathern pouch over the end of the reed, and so 
filling it with the gas, he was able to send it soar- 
ing up into the air. 

Those Were the Real Conquests 253 

"An inflammable gas, and one markedly lighter 
than the atmosphere. I should say beyond doubt 
that it contained a considerable proportion of free 
hydrogen. The resources of G. E. C. are not yet 
exhausted, my young friend. I may yet show 
you how a great mind molds all Nature to its 
use/ 5 He swelled with some secret purpose, but 
would say no more. 

There was nothing which we could see upon the 
shore which seemed to me so wonderful as the 
great sheet of water before us. Our numbers and 
our noise had frightened all living creatures away, 
and save for a few pterodactyls, which soared 
round high above our heads while they waited 
for the carrion, all was still around the camp. 
But it was different out upon the rose-tinted 
waters of the central lake. It boiled and heaved 
with strange life. Great slate-colored backs and 
high serrated dorsal fins shot up with a fringe of 
silver, and then rolled down into the depths again. 
The sand-banks far out were spotted with uncouth 
crawling forms, huge turtles, strange saurians, and 
one great flat creature like a writhing, palpitating 
mat of black greasy leather, which flopped its way 
slowly to the lake. Here and there high serpent 
heads projected out of the water, cutting swiftly 
through it with a little collar of foam in front, and 
a long swirling wake behind, rising and falling 
in graceful, swan-like undulations as they went. 
It was not until one of these creatures wriggled 
on to a sand-bank within a few hundred yards of 
us, and exposed a barrel-shaped body and huge 

254 The Lost World 

flippers behind the long serpent neck, that Chal- 
lenger, and Summerlee, who had joined us, broke 
out into their duet of wonder and admiration. 

" Plesiosaurus ! A fresh-water plesiosaurus!" 
cried Summerlee. "That I should have lived to 
see such a sight! We are blessed, my dear Chal- 
lenger, above all zoologists since the world began!" 

It was not until the night had fallen, and the 
fires of our savage allies glowed red in the shadows, 
that our two men of science could be dragged 
away from the fascinations of that primeval lake. 
Even in the darkness as we lay upon the strand, 
we heard from time to time the snort and plunge 
of the huge creatures who lived therein. 

AT earliest dawn our camp was astir and an hour 
later we had started upon our memorable 
expedition. Often in my dreams have I thought 
that I might live to be a war correspondent. In 
what wildest one could I have conceived the nature 
of the campaign which it should be my lot to 
report! Here then is my first despatch from a 
field of battle: 

Our numbers had been reinforced during the 
night by a fresh batch of natives from the caves, 
and we may have been four or five hundred strong 
when we made our advance. A fringe of scouts 
was thrown out in front, and behind them the 
whole force in a solid column made their way up 
the long slope of the bush country until we were 
near the edge of the forest. Here they spread out 
into a long straggling line of spearmen and bow- 

Those Were the Real Conquests 255 

men. Roxton and Summerlee took their position 
upon the right flank, while Challenger and I were 
on the left. It was a host of the stone age that 
we were accompanying to battle we with the 
last word of the gunsmith's art from St. James' 
Street and the Strand. 

We had not long to wait for our enemy. A wild 
shrill clamor rose from the edge of the wood and 
suddenly a body of ape-men rushed out with clubs 
and stones, and made for the center of the Indian 
line. It was a valiant move but a foolish one, for 
the great bandy-legged creatures were slow of foot, 
while their opponents were as active as cats. It 
was horrible to see the fierce brutes with foaming 
mouths and glaring eyes, rushing and grasping, 
but forever missing their elusive enemies, while 
arrow after arrow buried itself in their hides. 
One great fellow ran past me roaring with pain, 
with a dozen darts sticking from his chest and 
ribs. In mercy I put a bullet through his skull, 
and he fell sprawling among the aloes. But this 
was the only shot fired, for the attack had been on 
the center of the line, and the Indians there had 
needed no help of ours in repulsing it. Of all 
the ape-men who had rushed out into the open, 
I do not think that one got back to cover. 

But the matter was more deadly when we came 
among the trees. For an hour or more after we 
entered the wood, there was a desperate struggle 
in which for a time we hardly held our own. 
Springing out from among the scrub the ape-men 
with huge clubs broke in upon the Indians and 

256 The Lost World 

often felled three or four of them before they could 
be speared. Their frightful blows shattered every- 
thing upon which they fell. One of them knocked 
Summerlee's rifle to matchwood and the next 
would have crushed his skull had an Indian not 
stabbed the beast to the heart. Other ape-men 
in the trees above us hurled down stones and logs 
of wood, occasionally dropping bodily on to our 
ranks and fighting furiously until they were 
felled. Once our allies broke under the pressure, 
and had it not been for the execution done by our 
rifles they would certainly have taken to their 
heels. But they were gallantly rallied by their 
old chief and came on with such a rush that the 
ape-men began in turn to give way. Summerlee 
was weaponless, but I was emptying my maga- 
zine as quick as I could fire, and on the further 
flank we heard the continuous cracking of our 
companion's rifles. 

TPHEN in a moment came the panic and the 
collapse. Screaming and howling, the great 
creatures rushed away in all directions through 
the brushwood, while our allies yelled in their 
savage delight, following swiftly after their flying 
enemies. All the feuds of countless generations, 
all the hatreds and cruelties of their narrow his- 
tory, all the memories of ill-usage and persecution 
were to be purged that day. At last man was to 
be supreme and the man-beast to find forever 
his allotted place. Fly as they would the fugi- 
tives were too slow to escape from the active 

Those Were the Real Conquests 257 

savages, and from every side in the tangled woods 
we heard the exultant yells, the twanging of bows, 
and the crash and thud as ape-men were brought 
down from their hiding-places in the trees. 

I was following the others, when I found that 
Lord John and Challenger had come across to 
join us. 

"It's over," said Lord John. "I think we can 
leave the tidying up to them. Perhaps the less 
we see of it the better we shall sleep." 

Challenger's eyes were shining with the lust of 

"We have been privileged," he cried, strutting 
about like a gamecock, "to be present at one of 
the typical decisive battles of history the battles 
which have determined the fate of the world. 
What, my friends, is the conquest of one nation by 
another? It is meaningless. Each produces the 
same result. But those fierce fights, when in the 
dawn of the ages the cave-dwellers held their own 
against the tiger folk, or the elephants first found 
that they had a master, those were the real con- 
quests the victories that count. By this strange 
turn of fate we have seen and helped to decide 
even such a contest. Now upon this plateau the 
future must ever be for man." 

It needed a robust faith in the end to justify 
such tragic means. As we advanced together 
through the woods we found the ape-men lying 
thick, transfixed with spears or arrows. Here and 
there a little group of shattered Indians marked 
where one of the anthropoids had turned to bay, 

258 The Lost World 

and sold his life dearly. Always in front of us we 
heard the yelling and roaring which showed the 
direction of the pursuit. The ape-men had been 
driven back to their city, they had made a last 
stand there, once again they had been broken, and 
now we were in time to see the final fearful scene 
of all. Some eighty or a hundred males, the last 
survivors, had been driven across that same little 
clearing which led to the edge of the cliff, the scene 
of our own exploit two days before. As we ar- 
rived the Indians, a semicircle of spearmen, had 
closed in on them, and in a minute it was over. 
Thirty or forty died where they stood. The 
others, screaming and clawing, were thrust over 
the precipice, and went hurtling down, as their 
prisoners had of old, on to the sharp bamboos six 
hundred feet below. It was as Challenger had 
said, and the reign of man was assured forever in 
Maple White Land. The males were extermi- 
nated, Ape Town was destroyed, the females and 
young were driven away to live in bondage, and 
the long rivalry of untold centuries had reached 
its bloody end. 

For us the victory brought much advantage. 
Once again we were able to visit our camp and 
get at our stores. Once more also we were able 
to communicate with Zambo, who had been 
terrified by the spectacle from afar of an avalanche 
of apes falling from the edge of the cliff. 

"Come away, Massas, come away!" he cried, 
his eyes starting from his head. "The debbil get 
you sure if you stay up there/' 

Those Were the Real Conquests 259 

"It is the voice of sanity!" said Summerlee 
with conviction. "We haye had adventures 
enough and they are neither suitable to our char- 
acter or our position. I hold you to your word, 
Challenger. From now onwards you devote your 
energies to getting us out of this horrible country 
and back once more to civilization." 


"Our Eyes have seen Great Wonders" 

I WRITE this from day to day, but I trust that 
before I come to the end of it, I may be able 
to say that the light shines, at last, through 
our clouds. We are held here with no clear means 
of making our escape, and bitterly we chafe against 
it. Yet, I can well imagine that the day may 
come when we may be glad that we were kept, 
against our will, to see something more of the 
wonders of this singular place, and of the creatures 
who inhabit it. 

The victory of the Indians and the annihilation 
of the ape-men, marked the turning point of our 
fortunes. From then onwards, we were in truth 
masters of the plateau, for the natives looked upon 
us with a mixture of fear and gratitude, since by 
our strange powers we had aided jthem to destroy 
their hereditary foe. For their own sakes they 
would, perhaps, be glad to see the departure of 
such formidable and incalculable people, but they 
have not themselves suggested any way by which 
we may reach the plains below. There had been, 
so far as we could follow their signs, a tunnel by 
which the place could be approached, the lower 
exit of which we had seen from below. By this, 


Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 261 

no doubt, both ape-men and Indians had at 
different epochs reached the top, and Maple 
White with his companion had taken the same 
way. Only the year before, however, there had 
been a terrific earthquake, and the upper end of 
the tunnel had fallen in and completely disap- 
peared. The Indians now could only shake their 
heads and shrug their shoulders when we expressed 
by signs our desire to descend. It may be that 
they cannot, but it may also be that they will not, 
help us to get away. 

At the end of the victorious campaign the sur- 
viving ape-folk were driven across the plateau 
(their wailings were horrible) and established in 
the neighborhood of the Indian caves, where they 
would, from now onwards, be a servile race under 
the eyes of their masters. It was a rude, raw, 
primeval version of the Jews in Babylon or the 
Israelites in Egypt. At night we could hear from 
amid the trees the long-drawn cry, as some prim- 
itive Ezekiel mourned for fallen greatness and re- 
called the departed glories of Ape Town. Hewers 
of wood and drawers of water, such were they 
from now onwards. 

had returned across the plateau with our 
allies two days after the battle, and made 
our camp at the foot of their cliffs. They would 
have had us share their caves with them, but 
Lord John would by no means consent to it, con- 
sidering that to do so would put us in their power 
if they were treacherously disposed. We kept 

262 The Lost World 

our independence, therefore, and had our weapons 
ready for any emergency, while preserving the 
most friendly relations. We also continually 
visited their caves, which were most remarkable 
places, though whether made by man or by Nature 
we have never been able to determine. They 
were all on the one stratum, hollowed out of some 
soft rock which lay between the volcanic basalt 
forming the ruddy cliffs above them, and the hard 
granite which formed their base. 

The openings were about eighty feet above the 
ground, and were led up to by long stone stairs, 
so narrow and steep that no large animal could 
mount them. Inside they were warm and dry, 
running in straight passages of varying length 
into the side of the hill, with smooth gray walls 
decorated with many excellent pictures done with 
charred sticks and representing the various animals 
of the plateau. If every living thing were swept 
from the country the future explorer would find 
upon the walls of these caves ample evidence of 
the strange fauna the dinosaurs, iguanodons, 
and fish lizards which had lived so recently 
upon earth. 

Since we had learned that the huge iguanodons 
were kept as tame herds by their owners, and were 
simply walking meat-stores, we had conceived 
that man, even with his primitive weapons, had 
established his ascendancy upon the plateau. 
We were soon to discover that it was not so, and 
that he was still there upon tolerance. 




Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 263 

TT was on the third day after our forming our 
camp near the Indian caves that the tragedy 
occurred. Challenger and Summerlee had gone 
off together that day to the lake where some of 
the natives, under their direction, were engaged 
in harpooning specimens of the great lizards. 
Lord John and I had remained in our camp, while 
a number of the Indians were scattered about 
upon the grassy slope in front of the caves en- 
gaged in different ways. Suddenly there was a 
shrill cry of alarm, with the word "Stoa" resound- 
ing from a hundred tongues. From every side 
men, women, and children were rushing wildly 
for shelter, swarming up the staircases and into 
the caves in a mad stampede. 

Looking up, we could see them waving their 
arms from the rocks above and beckoning to us to 
join them in their refuge. We had both seized 
our magazine rifles and ran out to see what the 
danger could be. Suddenly from the near belt 
of trees there broke forth a group of twelve or 
fifteen Indians, running for their lives, and at 
their very heels two of those frightful monsters 
which had disturbed our camp and pursued me 
upon my solitary journey. In shape they were 
like horrible toads, and moved in a succession of 
springs, but in size they were of an incredible 
bulk, larger than the largest elephant. We 
had never before seen them save at night, and 
indeed they are nocturnal animals save when 
disturbed in their lairs, as these had been. 
We now stood amazed at the sight, for their 

264 The Lost World 

blotched and warty skins were of a curious fish- 
like iridescence, and the sunlight struck them 
with an ever-varying rainbow bloom as they 

We had little time to watch them, however, for 
in an instant they had overtaken the fugitives 
and were making a dire slaughter among them. 
Their method was to fall forward with their full 
weight upon each in turn, leaving him crushed 
and mangled, to bound on after the others. The 
wretched Indians screamed with terror, but were 
helpless, run as they would, before the relentless 
purpose and horrible activity of these monstrous 
creatures. One after another they went down, 
and there were not half-a-dozen surviving by the 
time my companion and I could come to their 
help. But our aid was of little avail and only 
involved us in the same peril. At the range of a 
couple of hundred yards we emptied our maga- 
zines, firing bullet after bullet into the beasts, but 
with no more effect than if we were pelting them 
with pellets of paper. Their slow reptilian na- 
tures cared nothing for wounds, and the springs 
of their lives, with no special brain center but 
scattered throughout their spinal cords, could not 
be tapped by any modern weapons. The most 
that we could do was to check their progress by 
distracting their attention with the flash and roar 
of our guns, and so to give both the natives and 
ourselves time to reach the steps which led to 
safety. But where the conical explosive bullets 
of the twentieth century were of no avail, the 


Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 265 

poisoned arrows of the natives, dipped in the juice 
of strophanthus and steeped afterwards in decayed 
carrion, could succeed. Such arrows were of little 
avail to the hunter who attacked the beast, be- 
cause their action in that torpid circulation was 
slow, and before its powers failed it could certainly 
overtake and slay its assailant. But now, as the 
two monsters hounded us to the very foot of the 
stairs, a drift of darts came whistling from every 
chink in the cliff above them. In a minute they 
were feathered with them, and yet with no sign 
of pain they clawed and slobbered with impotent 
rage at the steps which would lead them to their 
victims, mounting clumsily up for a few yards 
and then sliding down again to the ground. But 
at last the poison worked. One of them gave a 
deep rumbling groan and dropped his huge squat 
head on to the earth. The other bounded round 
in an eccentric circle with shrill, wailing cries, and 
then lying down writhed in agony for some min- 
utes before it also stiffened and lay still. With 
yells of triumph the Indians came flocking down 
from their caves and danced a frenzied dance of 
victory round the dead bodies, in mad joy that 
two more of the most dangerous of all their ene- 
mies had been slain. That night they cut up and 
removed the bodies, not to eat for the poison 
was still active but lest they should breed a 
pestilence. The great reptilian hearts, however, 
each as large as a cushion, still lay there, beating 
slowly and steadily, with a gentle rise and fall, in 
horrible independent life. It was only upon the 

266 The Lost World 

third day that the ganglia ran down and the 
dreadful things were still. 

COME day, when I have a better desk than a 
meat-tin and more helpful tools than a worn 
stub of pencil and a last, tattered note-book, I 
will write some fuller account of the Accala In- 
dians of our life amongst them, and of the 
glimpses which we had of the strange conditions 
of wondrous Maple White Land. Memory, at 
least, will never fail me, for so long as the breath 
of life is in me, every hour and every action of that 
period will stand out as hard and clear as do the 
first strange happenings of our childhood. No 
new impressions could efface those which are so 
deeply cut. When the time comes I will describe 
that wondrous moonlit night upon the great lake 
when a young ichthyosaurus a strange creature, 
half seal, half fish, to look at, with bone-covered 
eyes on each side of his snout, and a third eye 
fixed upon the top of his head was entangled 
in an Indian net, and nearly upset our canoe 
before we towed it ashore; the same night that a 
green water-snake shot out from the rushes and 
carried off in its coils the steersman of Challen- 
ger's canoe. I will tell, too, of the great nocturnal 
white thing to this day we do not know whether 
it was beast or reptile which lived in a vile 
swamp to the east of the lake, and flitted about 
with a faint phosphorescent glimmer in the dark- 
ness. The Indians were so terrified at it that 
they would not go near the place, and, though we 


Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 267 

twice made expeditions and saw it each time, we 
could not make our way through the deep marsh 
in which it lived. I can only say that it seemed 
to be larger than a cow and had the strangest 
musky odor. I will tell also of the huge bird 
which chased Challenger to the shelter of the rocks 
one day a great running bird, far taller than an 
ostrich, with a vulture-like neck and cruel head 
which made it a walking death. As Challenger 
climbed to safety one dart of that savage curving 
beak shore off the heel of his boot as if it had 
been cut with a chisel. This time at least modern 
weapons prevailed and the great creature, twelve 
feet from head to foot phororachus its name, 
according to our panting but exultant Professor 
went down before Lord Roxton's rifle in a flurry 
of waving feathers and kicking limbs, with two 
remorseless yellow eyes glaring up from the midst 
of it. May I live to see that flattened vicious 
skull in its own niche amid the trophies of the 
Albany. Finally, I will assuredly give some account 
of the toxodon, the giant ten-foot guinea pig, with 
projecting chisel teeth, which we killed as it drank 
in the gray of the morning by the side of the 

All this I shall some day write at fuller length, 
and amidst these more stirring days I would 
tenderly sketch in these lovely summer evenings, 
when with the deep blue sky above us we lay in 
good comradeship among the long grasses by the 
wood and marveled at the strange fowl that 
swept over us and the quaint new creatures which 

268 The Lost World 

crept from their burrows to watch us, while above 
us the boughs of the bushes were heavy with 
luscious fruit, and below us strange and lovely 
flowers peeped at us from among the herbage; or 
those long moonlit nights when we lay out upon 
the shimmering surface of the great lake and 
watched with wonder and awe the huge circles 
rippling out from the sudden splash of some 
fantastic monster; or the greenish gleam, far 
down in the deep water, of some strange creature 
upon the confines of darkness. These are the 
scenes which my mind and my pen will dwell upon 
in every detail at some future day. 

CUT, you will ask, why these experiences and 
why this delay, when you and your comrades 
should have been occupied day and night in the 
devising of some means by which you could return 
to the outer world ? My answer is, that there was 
not one of us who was not working for this end, 
but that our work had been in vain. One fact 
we had very speedily discovered: The Indians 
would do nothing to help us. In every other way 
they were our friends one might almost say 
our devoted slaves but when it was suggested 
that they should help us to make and carry a 
plank which would bridge the chasm, or when we 
wished to get from them thongs of leather or liana 
to weave ropes which might help us, we were met 
by a good-humored, but an invincible, refusal. 
They would smile, twinkle their eyes, shake their 
heads, and there was the end of it. Even the old 

Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 269 

chief met us with the same obstinate denial, and 
it was only Maretas, the youngster whom we had 
saved, who looked wistfully at us and told us by 
his gestures that he was grieved for our thwarted 
wishes. Ever since their crowning triumph with 
the ape-men they looked upon us as supermen, 
who bore victory in the tubes of strange weapons, 
and they believed that so long as we remained 
with them good fortune would be theirs. A little 
red-skinned wife and a cave of our own were freely 
offered to each of us if we would but forget our 
own people and dwell forever upon the plateau. 
So far all had been kindly, however far apart our 
desires might be; but we felt well assured that 
our actual plans of a descent must be kept secret, 
for we had reason to fear that at the last they 
might try to hold us by force. 

In spite of the danger from dinosaurs (which 
is not great save at night, for, as I may have said 
before, they are mostly nocturnal in their habits) 
I have twice in the last three weeks been over to 
our old camp in order to see our negro who still 
kept watch and ward below the cliff. My eyes 
strained eagerly across the great plain in the hope 
of seeing afar off the help for which we had prayed. 
But the long cactus-strewn levels still stretched 
away, empty and bare, to the distant line of the 

"They will soon come now, Massa Malone. 
Before another week pass Indian come back and 
bring rope and fetch you down." Such was the 
cheery cry of our excellent Zambo. 

270 The Lost World 

T HAD one strange experience as I came from this 
second visit which had involved my being 
away for a night from my companions. I was 
returning along the well-remembered route, and 
had reached a spot within a mile or so of the marsh 
of the pterodactyls, when I saw an extraordinary 
object approaching me. It was a man who 
walked inside a framework made of bent canes 
so that he was enclosed on all sides in a bell- 
shaped cage. As I drew nearer I was more amazed 
still to see that it was Lord John Roxton. When 
he saw me he slipped from under his curious pro- 
tection and came towards me laughing, and yet, 
as I thought, with some confusion in his manner. 

"Well, young fellah," said he, "who would have 
thought of meetin' you up here?" 

"What in the world are you doing?" I asked. 

"Visitin' my friends, the pterodactyls," said he. 

"But why?" 

"Interestin' beasts, don't you think? But un- 
sociable! Nasty rude ways with strangers, as 
you may remember. So I rigged this framework 
which keeps them from bein' too pressin' in their 

"But what do you want in the swamp?" 

He looked at me with a very questioning eye, 
and I read hesitation in his face. 

"Don't you think other people besides Pro- 
fessors can want to know things?" he said at last. 
"I'm studyin' the pretty dears. That's enough 
for you." 

"No offense," said I. 


Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 271 

His good-humor returned and he laughed. 

"No offense, young fellah. I'm goin' to get a 
young devil chick for Challenger. That's one of 
my jobs. No, I don't want your company. I'm 
safe in this cage, and you are not. So long, and 
I'll be back in camp by night-fall." 

He turned away and I left him wandering on 
through the wood with his extraordinary cage 
around him. 

If Lord John's behavior at this time was strange, 
that of Challenger was more so. I may say that 
he seemed to possess an extraordinary fascination 
for the Indian women, and that he always carried 
a large spreading palm branch with which he beat 
them off as if they were flies, when their atten- 
tions became too pressing. To see him walking 
like a comic opera Sultan, with this badge of 
authority in his hand, his black beard bristling in 
front of him, his toes pointing at each step, and a 
train of wide-eyed Indian girls behind him, clad 
in their slender drapery of bark cloth, is one of 
the most grotesque of all the pictures which I will 
carry back with me. As to Summerlee, he was 
absorbed in the insect and bird life of the plateau, 
and spent his whole time (save that considerable 
portion which was devoted to abusing Challen- 
ger for not getting us out of our difficulties) in 
cleaning and mounting his specimens. 

(CHALLENGER had been in the habit of walk- 
ing off by himself every morning and return- 
ing from time to time with looks of portentous 

272 The Lost World 

solemnity, as one who bears the full weight of a 
great enterprise upon his shoulders. One day, 
palm branch in hand, and his crowd of adoring 
devotees behind him, he led us down to his hidden 
work-shop and took us into the secret of his 

The place was a small clearing in the center of 
a palm grove. In this was one of those boiling 
mud geysers which I have already described. 
Around its edge were scattered a number of 
leathern thongs cut from iguanodon hide, and a 
large collapsed membrane which proved to be 
the dried and scraped stomach of one of the great 
fish lizards from the lake. This huge sack had 
been sewn up at one end and only a small orifice 
left at the other. Into this opening several 
bamboo canes had been inserted and the other 
ends of these canes were in contact with conical 
clay funnels which collected the gas bubbling up 
through the mud of the geyser. Soon the flaccid 
organ began to slowly expand and show such a 
tendency to upward movements that Challenger 
fastened the cords which held it to the trunks of 
the surrounding trees. In half an hour a good- 
sized gas-bag had been formed, and the jerking 
and straining upon the thongs showed that it was 
capable of considerable lift. Challenger, like a 
glad father in the presence of his first-born, stood 
smiling and stroking his beard, in silent, self- 
satisfied content as he gazed at the creation of his 
brain. It was Summerlee who first broke the 

Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 273 

"You don't mean us to go up in that thing, 
Challenger?" said he, in an acid voice. 

"I mean, my dear Summerlee, to give you such 
a demonstration of its powers that after seeing it 
you will, I am sure, have no hesitation in trusting 
yourself to it." 

"You can put it right out of your head now, 
at once," said Summerlee with decision, "nothing 
on earth would induce me to commit such a folly. 
Lord John, I trust that you will not countenance 
such madness?" 

"Dooced ingenious, I call it," said our peer. 
"I'd like to see how it works." 

"So you shall," said Challenger. "For some 
days I have exerted my whole brain force upon 
the problem of how we shall descend from these 
cliffs. We have satisfied ourselves that we cannot 
climb down and that there is no tunnel. We are 
also unable to construct any kind of bridge which 
may take us back to the pinnacle from which we 
came. How then shall I find a means to convey 
us? Some little time ago I had remarked to our 
young friend here that free hydrogen was evolved 
from the geyser. The idea of a balloon naturally 
followed. I was, I will admit, somewhat baffled 
by the difficulty of discovering an envelope to 
contain the gas, but the contemplation of the 
immense entrails of these reptiles supplied me with 
a solution to the problem. Behold the result!" 

He put one hand in the front of his ragged 
jacket and pointed proudly with the other. 

By this time the gas-bag had swollen to a goodly 

274 The Lost World 

rotundity and was jerking strongly upon 

"Midsummer madness!" snorted Summerlee. 

Lord John was delighted with the whole idea. 
" Clever old dear, ain't he?" he whispered to me, 
and then louder to Challenger. "What about 
a car?" 

"The car will be my next care. I have already 
planned how it is to be made and attached. Mean- 
while I will simply show you how capable my 
apparatus is of supporting the weight of each 
of us." 

"All of us, surely?" 

"No, it is part of my plan that each in turn 
shall descend as in a parachute, and the balloon 
be drawn back by means which I shall have no 
difficulty in perfecting. If it will support the 
weight of one and let him gently down, it will 
have done all that is required of it. I will now 
show you its capacity in that direction." 

He brought out a lump of basalt of a consider- 
able size, constructed in the middle so that a cord 
could be easily attached to it. This cord was 
the one which we had brought with us on to 
the plateau after we had used it for climbing the 
pinnacle. It was over a hundred feet long, and 
though it was thin it was very strong. He had 
prepared a sort of collar of leather with many 
straps depending from it. This collar was placed 
over the dome of the balloon, and the hanging 
thongs were gathered together below, so that the 
pressure of any weight would be diffused over a 

Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 275 

considerable surface. Then the lump of basalt 
was fastened to the thongs, and the rope was 
allowed to hang from the end of it, being passed 
three times round the Professor's arm. 

"I will now," said Challenger, with a smile of 
pleased anticipation, " demonstrate the carrying 
power of my balloon/' As he said so he cut 
with a knife the various lashings that held it. 

"VTEVER was our expedition in more imminent 
danger of complete annihilation. The inflated 
membrane shot up with frightful velocity into 
the air. In an instant Challenger was pulled off 
his feet and dragged after it. I had just time to 
throw my arms round his ascending waist when I 
was myself whipped up into the air. Lord John 
had me with a rat-trap grip round the legs, but I 
felt that he also was coming off the ground. For 
a moment I had a vision of four adventurers 
floating like a string of sausages over the land that 
they had explored. But, happily, there were 
limits to the strain which the rope would stand, 
though none apparently to the lifting powers of 
this infernal machine. There was a sharp crack, 
and we were in a heap upon the ground with coils 
of rope all over us. When we were able to stagger 
to our feet we saw far off in the deep blue sky one 
dark spot where the lump of basalt was speeding 
upon its way. 

"Splendid!" cried the undaunted Challenger, 
rubbing his injured arm. "" A most thorough and 
satisfactory demonstration! I could not have 

276 The Lost World 

anticipated such a success. Within a week, gentle- 
men, I promise that a second balloon will be pre- 
pared, and that you can count upon taking in 
safety and comfort the first stage of our homeward 

So far I have written each of the foregoing events 
as it occurred. Now I am rounding off my narra- 
tive from the old camp, where Zambo has waited 
so long, with all our difficulties and dangers left 
like a dream behind us upon the summit of those 
vast ruddy crags which tower above our heads. 
We have descended in safety, though in a most 
unexpected fashion, and all is well with us. In 
six weeks or two months we shall be in London, 
and it is possible that this letter may not reach 
you much earlier than we do ourselves. Already 
our hearts yearn and our spirits fly towards the 
great mother city which holds so much that is 
dear to us. 

It was on the very evening of our perilous ad- 
venture with Challenger's home-made balloon 
that the change came in our fortunes. I have 
said that the one person from whom we had had 
some sign of sympathy in our attempts to get 
away was the young chief whom we had rescued. 
He alone had no desire to hold us against our will 
in a strange land. He had told us as much by 
his expressive language of signs. That evening, 
after dusk, he came down to our little camp, 
handed me (for some reason he had always shown 
his attentions to me, perhaps because I was the 
one who was nearest his age) a small roll of the 

Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 277 

bark of a tree, and then pointing solemnly up at 
the row of caves above him, he had put his finger 
to his lips as a sign of secrecy and had stolen back 
again to his people. 

I took the slip of bark to the firelight and we 
examined it together. It was about a foot square, 
and on the inner side there was a singular arrange- 
ment of lines, which I here reproduce: 

JIT* *TTf * t' T 

T T 

They were neatly done in charcoal upon the white 
surface, and looked to me at first sight like some 
sort of rough musical score. 

"Whatever it is, I can swear that it is of im- 
portance to us," said I. "I could read that on 
his face as he gave it." 

"Unless we have come upon a primitive practi- 
cal joker," Summerlee suggested, "which I should 
think would be one of the most elementary de- 
velopments of man." 

"It is clearly some sort of script," said Chal- 

"Looks like a guinea puzzle competition," re- 
marked Lord John, craning his neck to have a 
look at it. Then suddenly he stretched out his 
hand and seized the puzzle. 

"By George!" he cried, "I believe I've got it. 
The boy guessed right the very first time. See 
here! How many marks are on that paper? 
Eighteen. Well, if you come to think of it there 

278 The Lost World 

are eighteen cave openings on the hill-side above 


"He pointed up to the caves when he gave it to 
me," said I. 

"Well, that settles it. This is a chart of the 
caves. What! Eighteen of them all in a row, 
some short, some deep, some branching, same as 
we saw them. It's a map, and here's a cross on 
it. What's the cross for? It is placed to mark 
one that is much deeper than the others." 

"One that goes through," I cried. 

"I believe our young friend has read the riddle," 
said Challenger. "If the cave does not go through 
I do not understand why this person, who has 
every reason to mean us well, should have drawn 
our attention to it. But if it does go through and 
comes out at the corresponding point on the other 
side, we should not have more than a hundred 
feet to descend." 

"A hundred feet!" grumbled Summerlee. 

"Well, our rope is still more than a hundred 
feet long," I cried. "Surely we could get down." 

"How about the Indians in the cave?" Sum- 
merlee objected. 

"There are no Indians in any of the caves above 
our heads," said I. "They are all used as barns 
and store-houses. Why should we not go up now 
at once and spy out the land?" 

is a dry bituminous wood upon the 
plateau a species of araucaria, according 
to our botanist which is always used by the 

Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 279 

Indians for torches. Each of us picked up a 
faggot of this, and we made our way up weed- 
covered steps to the particular cave which was 
marked in the drawing. It was, as I had said, 
empty, save for a great number of enormous bats, 
which flapped round our heads as we advanced 
into it. As we had no desire to draw the atten- 
tion of the Indians to our proceedings, we stumbled 
along in the dark until we had gone round several 
curves and penetrated a considerable distance into 
the cavern. Then, at last, we lit our torches. It 
was a beautiful dry tunnel with smooth gray 
walls covered with native symbols, a curved roof 
which arched over our heads, and white glisten- 
ing sand beneath our feet. We hurried eagerly 
along it until, with a deep groan of bitter disap- 
pointment, we were brought to a halt. A sheer 
wall of rock had appeared before us, with no chink 
through which a mouse could have slipped. 
There was no escape for us there. 

We stood with bitter hearts staring at this 
unexpected obstacle. It was [not the result of 
any convulsion, as in the case of the ascending 
tunnel. The end wall was exactly like the side 
ones. It was, and had always been, a cul-de- 

"Never mind, my friends," said the indomitable 
Challenger. "You have still my firm promise of a 

Summerlee groaned. 

" Can we be in the wrong cave ? " I suggested. 

"No use, young fellah," said Lord John, with 

280 The Lost World 

his finger on the chart. "Seventeen from the 
right and second from the left. This is the cave 
sure enough." 

I looked at the mark to which his finger pointed, 
and I gave a sudden cry of joy. 

"I believe I have it! Follow me! Follow 

I hurried back along the way we had come, my 
torch in my hand. "Here," said I, pointing to 
some matches upon the ground, "is where we lit 


"Well, it is marked as a forked cave, and in the 
darkness we passed the fork before the torches 
were lit. " On the right side as we go out we should 
find the longer arm." 

TT was as I had said. We had not gone thirty 
yards before a great black opening loomed in 
the wall. We turned into it to find that we were 
in a much larger passage than before. Along it 
we hurried in breathless impatience for many 
hundreds of yards. Then, suddenly, in the black 
darkness of the arch in front of us we saw a gleam 
of dark red light. We stared in amazement. 
A sheet of steady flame seemed to cross the pas- 
sage and to bar our way. We hastened towards 
it. No sound, no heat, no movement came from 
it, but still the great luminous curtain glowed 
before us, silvering all the cave and turning the 
sand to powdered jewels, until as we drew closer 
it discovered a circular edge. 


Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 281 

"The moon, by George!" cried Lord John. "We 
are through, boys! We are through!" 

It was indeed the full moon which shone straight 
down the aperture which opened upon the cliffs. 
It was a small rift, not larger than a window, but it 
was enough for all our purposes. As we craned our 
necks through it we could see that the descent 
was not a very difficult one, and that the level 
ground was no very great way below us. It was 
no wonder that from below we had not observed 
the place, as the cliffs curved overhead and an 
ascent at the spot would have seemed so impossi- 
ble as to discourage close inspection. We satis- 
fied ourselves that with the help of our rope we 
could find our way down, and then returned, re- 
joicing, to our camp to make our preparations 
for the next evening. 

What we did we had to do quickly and secretly, 
since even at this last hour the Indians might hold 
us back. Our stores we would leave behind us, 
save only our guns and cartridges. But Chal- 
lenger had some unwieldy stuff which he ardently 
desired to take with him, and one particular pack- 
age, of which I may not speak, which gave us 
more labor than any. Slowly the day passed, 
but when the darkness fell we were ready for our 
departure. With much labor we got our things 
up the steps, and then, looking back, took one 
last long survey of that strange land, soon I fear 
to be vulgarized, the prey of hunter and pros- 
pector, but to each of us a dreamland of glamor 
and romance, a land where we had dared much, 

282 The Lost World 

suffered much, and learned much our land, as 
we shall ever fondly call it. Along upon our left 
the neighboring caves each threw out its ruddy 
cheery firelight into the gloom. From the slope 
below us rose the voices of the Indians as they 
laughed and sang. Beyond was the long sweep 
of the woods, and in the center, shimmering 
vaguely through the gloom, was the great lake, 
the mother of strange monsters. Even as we 
looked a high whickering cry, the call of some 
weird animal, rang clear out of the darkness. It 
was the very voice of Maple White Land bidding 
us good-bye. We turned and plunged into the 
cave which led to home. 

Two hours later, we, our packages, and alFwe 
owned, were at the foot of the cliff. Save for 
Challenger's luggage we had never a difficulty. 
Leaving it all where we descended, we started at 
once for Zambo's camp. In the early morning we 
approached it, but only to find, to our amazement, 
not one fire but a dozen upon the plain. The 
rescue party had arrived. There were twenty 
Indians from the river, with stakes, ropes, and all 
that could be useful for bridging the chasm. At 
least we shall have no difficulty now in carrying 
our packages, when to-morrow we begin to make 
our way back to the Amazon. 

A ND so, in humble and thankful mood, I close 
this account. Our eyes have seen great won- 
ders and our souls are chastened by what we have 
endured. Each is in his own way a better and 

Our Eyes Have Seen Wonders 283 

deeper man. It may be that when we reach Para 
we shall stop to refit. If we do, this letter will be 
a mail ahead. If not, it will reach London on 
the very day that I do. In either case, my dear 
Mr. McArdle, I hope very soon to shake you by 
the hand. 


"A Procession! A Procession I' 9 

I SHOULD wish to place upon record here our 
gratitude to all our friends upon the Amazon 
for the very great [kindness and hospitality 
which was shown to us upon our return journey. 
Very particularly would I thank Senhor Penalosa 
and other officials of the Brazilian Government for 
the special arrangements by which we were helped 
upon our way, and Senhor Pereira of Para, to whose 
forethought we owe the complete outfit for a 
decent appearance in the civilized world which 
we found ready for us at that town. It seemed a 
poor return for all the courtesy which we encount- 
ered that we should deceive our hosts and bene- 
factors, but under the circumstances we had 
really no alternative, and I hereby tell them that 
they will only waste their time and their money 
if they attempt to follow upon our traces. Even 
the names have been altered in our accounts, and 
I am very sure that no one, from the most careful 
study of them, could come within a thousand 
miles of our unknown land. 

The excitement which had been caused through 
those parts of South America which we had to 
traverse was imagined by us to be purely local, 

/ A Procession! A Procession! 285 

and I can assure our friends in England that we 
had no notion of the uproar which the mere rumor 
of our experiences had caused through Europe. 
It was not until the hernia was within five hun- 
dred miles of Southampton that the wireless 
messages from paper after paper and agency after 
agency, offering huge prices for a short return 
message as to our actual results, showed us how 
strained was the attention not only of the scien- 
tific world but of the general public. It was 
agreed among us, however, that no definite state- 
ment should be given to the Press until we had 
met the members of the Zoological Institute, 
since as delegates it was our clear duty to give 
our first report to the body from which we had 
received our commission of investigation. Thus, 
although we found Southampton full of Pressmen, 
we absolutely refused to give any information, 
which had the natural effect of focussing public 
attention upon the meeting which was adver- 
tised for the evening of November yth. For this 
gathering, the Zoological Hall which had been the 
scene of the inception of our task was found to be 
far too small, and it was only in the Queen's Hall 
in Regent Street that accommodation could be 
found. It is now common knowledge the pro- 
moters might have ventured upon the Albert Hall 
and still found their space too scanty. 

It was for the second evening after our arrival 
that the great meeting had been fixed. For the 
first, we had each, no doubt, our own pressing 
personal affairs to absorb us. Of mine I cannot 

286 The Lost World 

yet speak. It may be that as it stands further 
from me I may think of it, and even speak of it, 
with less emotion. I have shown the reader in 
the beginning of this narrative where lay the 
springs of my action. It is but right, perhaps, 
that I should carry on the tale and show also the 
results. And yet the day may come when I would 
not have it otherwise. At least I have been driven 
forth to take part in a wondrous adventure, and I 
cannot but be thankful to the force that drove me. 

A ND now I turn to the last supreme eventful 
moment of our adventure. As I was racking 
my brain as to how I should best describe it, my 
eyes fell upon the issue of my own Journal for the 
morning of the 8th of November with the full and 
excellent account of my friend and fellow-reporter 
Macdona. What can I do better than transcribe 
his narrative head-lines and all ? I admit that 
the paper was exuberant in the matter, out of 
compliment to its own enterprise in sending a 
correspondent, but the other great dailies were 
hardly less full in their account. Thus, then, 
friend Mac in his report: 





A Procession! A Procession! 287 

"The much-discussed meeting of the Zoological 
Institute, convened to hear the report of the Com- 
mittee of Investigation sent out last year to South 
America to test the assertions made by Professor 
Challenger as to the continued existence of pre- 
historic life upon that Continent, was held last 
night in the greater Queen's Hall, and it is safe to 
say that it is likely to be a red letter date in the 
history of Science, for the proceedings were of so 
remarkable and sensational a character that no 
one present is ever likely to forget them." (Oh, 
brother scribe Macdona, what a monstrous open- 
ing sentence!) "The tickets were theoretically 
confined to members and their friends, but the 
latter is an elastic term, and long before eight 
o'clock, the hour fixed for the commencement of 
the proceedings, all parts of the Great Hall were 
tightly packed. The general public, however, 
which most unreasonably entertained a grievance 
at having been excluded, stormed the doors at a 
quarter to eight, after a prolonged melee in which 
several people were injured, including Inspector 
Scoble of H. Division, whose leg was unfortunately 
broken. After this unwarrantable invasion, which 
not only filled every passage, but even intruded 
upon the space set apart for the Press, it is esti- 
mated that nearly five thousand people awaited 
the arrival of the travelers. When they event- 
ually appeared, they took their places in the front 
of a platform which already contained all the 
leading scientific men, not only of this country, 
but of France and of Germany. Sweden was also 

288 The Lost World 

represented, in the person of Professor Sergius, 
the famous Zoologist of the University of Upsala. 

TPHE entrance of the four heroes of the occasion 
was the signal for a remarkable demonstra- 
tion of welcome, the whole audience rising and 
cheering for some minutes. An acute observer 
might, however, have detected some signs of dis- 
sent amid the applause, and gathered that the 
proceedings were likely to become more lively 
than harmonious. It may safely be prophesied, 
however, that no one could have foreseen the 
extraordinary turn which they were actually to 

"Of the appearance of the four wanderers little 
need be said, since their photographs have for 
some time been appearing in all the papers. They 
bear few traces of the hardships which they are 
said to have undergone. Professor Challenger's 
beard may be more shaggy, Professor Summer- 
lee's features more ascetic, Lord John Roxton's 
figure more gaunt, and all three may be burned 
to a darker tint than when they left our shores, 
but each appeared to be in most excellent health. 
As to our own representative, the well-known 
athlete and international Rugby football player, 
E. D. Malone, he looks trained to a hair, and as he 
surveyed the crowd a smile of good-humored con- 
tentment pervaded his honest but homely face." 
(All right, Mac, wait till I get you alone!) 

"When quiet had been restored and the audi- 
ence resumed their seats after the ovation which 


A Procession! A Procession 289 

they had given to the travelers, the chairman, 
the Duke of Durham, addressed the meeting. 
'He would not/ he said, 'stand for more than a 
moment between that vast assembly and the treat 
which lay before them. It was not for him to 
anticipate what Professor Summerlee, who was 
the spokesman of the committee, had to say to 
them, but it was common rumor that their expe- 
dition had been crowned by extraordinary success.' 
(Applause.) 'Apparently the age of romance was 
not dead, and there was common ground upon 
which the wildest imaginings of the novelist could 
meet the actual scientific investigations of the 
searcher for truth. He would only add, before he 
sat down, that he rejoiced and all of them 
would rejoice that these gentlemen had re- 
turned safe and sound from their difficult and 
dangerous task, for it cannot be denied that any 
disaster to such an expedition would have inflicted 
a well-nigh irreparable loss to the cause of Zoologi- 
cal science/ (Great applause, in which Professor 
Challenger was observed to join.) 

"pROFESSOR SUMMERLEE'S rising was the 
signal for another extraordinary outbreak of 
enthusiasm, which broke out again at intervals 
throughout his address. That address will not be 
given in extenso in these columns, for the reason 
that a full account of the whole adventures of the 
expedition is being published as a supplement 
from the pen of our own special correspondent. 
Some general indications will therefore suffice. 

290 The Lost World 

Having described the genesis of their journey, and 
paid a handsome tribute to his friend Professor 
Challenger, coupled with an apology for the in- 
credulity with which his assertions, now fully 
vindicated, had been received, he gave the actual 
course of their journey, carefully withholding such 
information as would aid the public in any attempt 
to locate this remarkable plateau. Having de- 
scribed, in general terms, their course from the 
main river up to the time that they actually 
reached the base of the cliffs, he enthralled his 
hearers by his account of the difficulties encount- 
ered by the expedition in their repeated attempts 
to mount them, and finally described how they 
succeeded in their desperate endeavors, which 
cost the lives of their two devoted half-breed 
servants." (This amazing reading of the affair 
was the result of Summerlee's endeavors to avoid 
raising any questionable matter at the meeting.) 
"Having conducted his audience in fancy to the 
summit, and marooned them there by reason of 
the fall of their bridge, the Professor proceeded to 
describe both the horrors and the attractions of 
that remarkable land. Of personal adventures 
he said little, but laid stress upon the rich harvest 
reaped by Science in the observations of the won- 
derful beast, bird, insect, and plant life of the 
plateau. Peculiarly rich in the coleoptera and in 
the lepidoptera, forty-six new species of the one 
and ninety-four of the other had been secured in 
the course of a few weeks. It was, however, in 
the larger animals, and especially in the larger 

A Procession! A Procession! 291 

animals supposed to have been long extinct, that 
the interest of the public was naturally centered. 
Of these he was able to give a goodly list, but had 
little doubt that it would be largely extended 
when the place had been more thoroughly investi- 
gated. He and his companions had seen at least 
a dozen creatures, most of them at a distance, 
which corresponded with nothing at present known 
to Science. These would in time be duly classi- 
fied and examined. He instanced a snake, the 
cast skin of which, deep purple in color, was fifty- 
one feet in length, and mentioned a white creature, 
supposed to be mammalian, which gave forth 
well-marked phosphorescence in the darkness; 
also a large black moth, the bite of which was 
supposed by the Indians to be highly poisonous. 
Setting aside these entirely new forms of life, the 
plateau was very rich in known prehistoric forms, 
dating back in some cases to early Jurassic times. 
Among these he mentioned the gigantic and gro- 
tesque stegosaurus, seen once by Mr. Malone at a 
drinking-place by the lake, and drawn in the 
sketch-book of that adventurous American who 
had first penetrated this unknown world. He de- 
scribed also the iguanodon and the pterodactyl 
two of the first of the wonders which they had 
encountered. He then thrilled the assembly by 
some account of the terrible carnivorous dinosaurs, 
which had on more than one occasion pursued 
members of the party, and which were the most 
formidable of all the creatures which they had 
encountered. Thence he passed to the huge and 

292 The Lost World 

ferocious bird, the phororachus, and to the great 
elk which still roams upon this upland. It was 
not, however, until he sketched the mysteries of 
the central lake that the full interest and enthu- 
siasm of the audience were aroused. One had to 
pinch oneself to be sure that one was awake as 
one heard this sane and practical Professor in cold 
measured tones describing the monstrous three- 
eyed fish-lizards and the huge water-snakes which 
inhabit this enchanted sheet of water. Next he 
touched upon the Indians, and upon the extraor- 
dinary colony of anthropoid apes, which might 
be looked upon as an advance upon the pithecan- 
thropus of Java, and as coming therefore nearer 
than any known form to that hypothetical crea- 
tion, the missing link. Finally he described, 
amongst some merriment, the ingenious but highly 
dangerous aeronautic invention of Professor Chal- 
lenger, and wound up a most memorable address 
by an account of the methods by which the 
committee did at last find their way back to 

"JT had been hoped that the proceedings would 
end there, and that a vote of thanks and 
congratulation, moved by Professor Sergius, of 
Upsala University, would be duly seconded and 
carried ; but it was soon evident that the course of 
events was not destined to flow so smoothly. 
Symptoms of opposition had been evident from 
time to time during the evening, and now Dr. 
James Illingworth, of Edinburgh, rose in the 

A Procession! A Procession! 293 

center of the hall. Dr. Illingworth asked whether 
an amendment should not be taken before a 

"THE CHAIRMAN: 'Yes, sir, if there must be an 

"DR. ILLINGWORTH: "Your Grace, there must 
be an amendment.' 

'THE CHAIRMAN: "Then let us take it at once/ 

"PROFESSOR SUMMERLEE (springing to his feet): 
* Might I explain, your Grace, that this man is my 
personal enemy ever since our controversy in the 
Quarterly Journal of Science as to the true nature 
of Bathybius?' 

"THE CHAIRMAN: 'I fear I cannot go into per- 
sonal matters. Proceed/ 

"Dr. Illingworth was imperfectly heard in part 
of his remarks on account of the strenuous oppo- 
sition of the friends of the explorers. Some at- 
tempts were also made to pull him down. Being 
a man of enormous physique, however, and pos- 
sessed of a very powerful voice, he dominated the 
tumult and succeeded in finishing his speech. It 
was clear, from the moment of his rising, that he 
had a number of friends and sympathizers in the 
hall, though they formed a minority in the audience. 
The attitude of the greater part of the public 
might be described as one of attentive neutrality. 

"Dr. Illingworth began his remarks by express- 
ing his high appreciation of the scientific work 
both of Professor Challenger and of Professor 
Summerlee. He much regretted that any per- 
sonal bias should have been read into his remarks. 

294 The Lost World 

which were entirely dictated by his desire for 
scientific truth. His position, in fact, was sub- 
stantially the same as that taken up by Professor 
Summerlee at the last meeting. At that last 
meeting Professor Challenger had made certain 
assertions which had been queried by his colleague. 
Now this colleague came forward himself with the 
same assertions and expected them to rem?*n un- 
questioned. Was this reasonable? ('Yes/ 'No/ 
and prolonged interruption, during which Pro- 
fessor Challenger was heard from the Press box 
to ask leave from the chairman to put Dr. Illing- 
worth into the street.) A year ago one man said 
certain things. Now four men said other and 
more startling ones. Was this to constitute a 
final proof where the matters in question were of 
the most revolutionary and incredible character? 
There had been recent examples of travelers 
arriving from the unknown with certain tales 
which had been too readily accepted. Was the 
London Zoological Institute to place itself in this 
position? He admitted that the members of the 
committee were men of character. But human 
nature was very complex. Even Professors might 
be misled by the desire for notoriety. Like moths, 
we all love best to flutter in the light. Heavy- 
game shots liked to be in a position to cap the 
tales of their rivals, and journalists were not 
averse from sensational coups, even when imagi- 
nation had to aid fact in the process. Each mem- 
ber of the committee had his own motive for 
making the most of his results. ('Shame! shame!') 


A Procession! A Procession! 295 

He had no desire to be offensive. ('You are!' 
and interruption.) The corroboration of these 
wondrous tales was really of the most slender 
description. What did it amount to? Some 
photographs. Was it possible that in this age 
of ingenious manipulation photographs could be 
accepted as evidence? What more? We have 
a stbry of a flight and a descent by ropes which 
precluded the production of larger specimens. It 
was ingenious, but not convincing. It was under- 
stood that Lord John Roxton claimed to have the 
skull of a phororachus. He could only say that 
he would like to see that skull. | 

"LORD JOHN ROXTON: 'Is this fellow calling 
me a liar?' (Uproar.) 

"THE CHAIRMAN: 'Order! order! Dr. Illing- 
worth, I must direct you to bring your remarks to 
a conclusion and to move your amendment/ 

"DR. ILLINGWORTH: 'Your Grace, I have more 
to say, but I bow to your ruling. I move, then, 
that, while Professor Summerlee be thanked for 
his interesting address, the whole matter shall be 
regarded as 'non-proven' and shall be referred 
back to a larger, and possibly more reliable Com- 
mittee of Investigation/ 

"TT is difficult to describe the confusion caused 
by this amendment. A large section of the 
audience expressed their indignation at such a slur 
upon the travelers by noisy shouts of dissent and 
cries of, 'Don't put it!' 'Withdraw!' 'Turn 
him out!' On the other hand, the malcontents 

296 The Lost World 

and it cannot be denied that they were fairly 
numerous cheered for the amendment, with 
cries of ' Order!' ' Chair!' and 'Fair play!' A 
scuffle broke out in the back benches, and blows 
were freely exchanged among the medical studen ts 
who crowded that part of the hall. It was only 
the moderating influence of the presence of large" 
numbers of ladies which prevented an absolute 
riot. Suddenly, however, there was a pause, a 
hush, and then complete silence. Professor Chal- 
lenger was on his feet. His appearance and 
manner are peculiarly arresting, and as he raised 
his hand for order the whole audience settled 
down expectantly to give him a hearing. 

'It will be within the recollection of many 
present,' said Professor Challenger, 'that similar 
foolish and unmannerly scenes marked the last 
meeting at which I have been able to address them. 
On that occasion Professor Summerlee was the 
chief offender, and though he is now chastened 
and contrite, the matter could not be entirely for- 
gotten. I have heard to-night similar, but even 
more offensive, sentiments from the person who 
has just sat down, and though it is a conscious 
effort of self-effacement to come down to that 
person's mental level, I will endeavor to do so, in 
order to allay any reasonable doubt which could 
possibly exist in the minds of anyone.' (Laughter 
and interruption.) 'I need not remind this audi- 
ence that, though Professor Summerlee, as the 
head of the Committee of Investigation, has been 
put up to speak to-night, still it is I who am the 

A Procession! A Procession! 297 

real prime mover in this business, and that it is 
mainly to me that any successful result must be 
ascribed. I have safely conducted these three 
gentlemen to the spot mentioned, and I have, as 
you have heard, convinced them of the accuracy 
of my previous account. We had hoped that we 
should find upon our return that no one was so 
dense as to dispute our joint conclusions. Warned, 
however, by my previous experience, I have not 
come without such proofs as may convince a 
reasonable man. As explained by Professor Sum- 
merlee, our cameras have been tampered with by 
the ape-men when they ransacked our camp, and 
most of our negatives ruined.' (Jeers, laughter, 
and 'Tell us another!' from the back.) 'I have 
mentioned the ape-men, and I cannot forbear 
from saying that some of the sounds which now 
meet my ears bring back most vividly to my 
recollection my experiences with those interesting 
creatures.' (Laughter.) 'In spite of the destruc- 
tion of so many invaluable negatives, there still 
remains in our collection a certain number of cor- 
roborative photographs showing the conditions 
of life upon the plateau. Did they accuse them 
of having forged these photographs?' (A voice, 
'Yes,' and considerable interruption which ended 
in several men being put out of the hall.) 'The 
negatives were open to the inspection of experts. 
But what other evidence had they? Under the 
conditions of their escape it was naturally impossi- 
ble to bring a large amount of baggage, but they 
had rescued Professor Summerlee's collections of 

298 The Lost World 

butterflies and beetles, containing many new 
species. Was this not evidence ? ' (Several voices, 
'No.') 'Who said no?' 

"DR. ILLINGWORTH (rising): 'Our point is that 
such a collection might have been made in other 
places than a prehistoric plateau.' (Applause.) 

"PROFESSOR CHALLENGER: 'No doubt, sir, we 
have to bow to your scientific authority, although 
I must admit that the name is unfamiliar. Passing, 
then, both the photographs and the entomological 
collection, I come to the varied and accurate 
information which we bring with us upon points 
which have never before been elucidated. For 
example, upon the domestic habits of the ptero- 
dactyl ' (A voice : * Bosh,' and uproar) ' I say, 
that upon the domestic habits of the pterodactyl 
we can throw a flood of light. I can exhibit to 
you from my portfolio a picture of that creature 
taken from life which would convince you 

"DR. ILLINGWORTH: 'No picture could con- 
vince us of anything.' 

"PROFESSOR CHALLENGER: 'You would require 
to see the thing itself?' 

"DR. ILLINGWORTH: 'Undoubtedly/ 

accept that?' 

"DR. ILLINGWORTH (laughing): 'Beyond a 

' JT was at this point that the sensation of the 

evening arose a sensation so dramatic that 

it can never have been paralleled in the history 

A Procession! A Procession! 299 

of scientific gatherings. Professor Challenger 
raised his hand in the air as a signal, and at once 
our colleague, Mr. E. D. Malone, was observed to 
rise and to make his way to the back of the plat- 
form. An instant later he re-appeared in com- 
pany of a gigantic negro, the two of them bearing 
between them a large square packing-case. It 
was evidently of great weight, and was slowly 
carried forward and placed in front of the Pro- 
fessor's chair. All sound had hushed in the audi- 
ence and everyone was absorbed in the spectacle 
before them. Professor Challenger drew off the 
top of the case, which formed a sliding lid. Peer- 
ing down into the box he snapped his fingers 
several times and was heard from the Press seat 
to say, 'Come, then, pretty, pretty!' in a coaxing 
voice. An instant later, with a scratching, rat- 
tling sound, a most horrible and loathsome crea- 
ture appeared from below and perched itself upon 
the side of the case. Even the unexpected fall of 
the Duke of Durham into the orchestra, which 
occurred at this moment, could not distract the 
petrified attention of the vast audience. The face 
of the creature was like the wildest gargoyle that 
the imagination of a mad medieval builder could 
have conceived. It was malicious, horrible, with 
two small red eyes as bright as points of burning 
coal. Its long, savage mouth, which was held 
half-open, was full of a double row of shark-like 
teeth. Its shoulders were humped, and round 
them were draped what appeared to be a faded 
gray shawl. It was the devil of our childhood in 


The Lost World 

person. There was a turmoil in the audience 
someone screamed, two ladies in the front row fell 
senseless from their chairs, and there was a gen- 
eral movement upon the platform to follow their 
chairman into the orchestra. For a moment there 
was danger of a general panic. Professor Chal- 
lenger threw up his hands to still the commotion, 
but the movement alarmed the creature beside 
him. Its strange shawl suddenly unfurled, spread, 
and fluttered as a pair of leathery wings. Its 
owner grabbed at its legs, but too late to hold it. 
It had sprung from the perch and was circling 
slowly round the Queen's Hall with a dry, leathery 
flapping of its ten-foot wings, while a putrid and 
insidious odor pervaded the room. The cries of 
the people in the galleries, who were alarmed at 
the near approach of those glowing eyes and that 
murderous beak, excited the creature to a frenzy. 
Faster and faster it flew, beating against walls 
and chandeliers in a blind frenzy of alarm. 'The 
window! For heaven's sake shut that window!' 
roared the Professor from the platform, dancing 
and wringing his hands in an agony of apprehen- 
sion. Alas, his warning was too late! In a mo- 
ment the creature, beating and bumping along 
the wall like a huge moth within a gas-shade, 
came upon the opening, squeezed its hideous bulk 
through it, and was gone. Professor Challenger fell 
back into his chair with his face buried in his hands, 
while the audience gave one long, deep sigh of 
relief as they realized that the incident was 

A Procession! A Procession 301 

"'"THEN oh! how shall one describe what 
took place then when the full exuber- 
ance of the majority and the full reaction of the 
minority united to make one great wave of en- 
thusiasm, which rolled from the back of the hall, 
gathering volume as it came, swept over the 
orchestra, submerged the platform, and carried 
the four heroes away upon its crest?" (Good fot 
you, Mac!) "If the audience had done less than 
justice, surely it made ample amends. Every 
one was on his feet. Every one was moving, 
shouting, gesticulating. A dense crowd of cheer- 
ing men were round the four travelers. 'Up 
with them! up with them!' cried a hundred voices. 
In a moment four figures shot up above the crowd. 
In vain they strove to break loose. They were 
held in their lofty places of honor. It would have 
been hard to let them down if it had been wished, 
so dense was the crowd around them. ' Regent 
Street! Regent Street!' sounded the voices. 
There was a swirl in the packed multitude, and a 
slow current, bearing the four upon their shoul- 
ders, made for the door. Out in the street the 
scene was extraordinary. An assemblage of not 
less than a hundred thousand people was waiting. 
The close-packed throng extended from the other 
side of the Langham Hotel to Oxford Circus. A 
roar of acclamation greeted the four adventurers 
as they appeared, high above the heads of the 
people, under the vivid electric lamps outside 
the hall. 'A procession! A procession!' was the 
cry. In a dense phalanx, blocking the streets 


The Lost World 

from side to side, the crowd set forth, taking the 
route of Regent Street, Pall Mall, St. James's 
Street, and Piccadilly. The whole central traffic 
of London was held up, and many collisions were 
reported between the demonstrators upon the 
one side and the police and taxi-cabmen upon the 
other. Finally, it was not until after midnight 
that the four travelers were released at the en- 
trance to Lord John Roxton's chambers in the 
Albany, and that the exuberant crowd, having 
sung 'They are Jolly Good Fellows' in chorus, 
concluded their program with 'God Save the King/ 
So ended one of the most remarkable evenings 
that London has seen for a considerable time." 

QO far my friend Macdona; and it may be 
taken as a fairly accurate, if florid, account 
of the proceedings. As to the main incident, it 
was a bewildering surprise to the audience, but not, 
I need hardly say, to us. The reader will remem- 
ber how I met Lord John Roxton upon the very 
occasion when, in his protective crinoline, he had 
gone to bring the "Devil's chick" as he called it, 
for Professor Challenger. I have hinted also at 
the trouble which the Professor's baggage gave 
us when we left the plateau, and had I described 
our voyage I might have said a good deal of the 
worry we had to coax with putrid fish the appetite 
of our filthy companion. If I have not said much 
about it before, it was, of course, that the Pro- 
fessor's earnest desire was that no possible rumor 
of the unanswerable argument which we carried 

A Procession! A Procession! 303 

should be allowed to leak out until the moment 
came when his enemies were to be confuted. 

One word as to the fate of the London ptero- 
dactyl. Nothing can be said to be certain upon 
this point. There is the evidence of two fright- 
ened women that it perched upon the roof of the 
Queen's Hall and remained there like a diabolical 
statue for some hours. The next day it came out 
in the evening papers that Private Miles, of the 
Coldstream Guards, on duty outside Marlborough 
House, had deserted his post without leave, and 
was therefore courtmartialed. Private Miles' 
account, that he dropped his rifle and took to his 
heels down the Mall because on looking up he 
had suddenly seen the devil between him and the 
moon, was not accepted by the Court, and yet it 
may have a direct bearing upon the point at issue. 
The only other evidence which I can adduce 
is from the log of the SS. Friesland, a Dutch- 
American liner, which asserts that at nine next 
morning, Start Point being at the time ten miles 
upon their starboard quarter, they were passed by 
something between a flying goat and a monstrous 
bat, which was heading at a prodigious pace south 
and west. If its homing instinct led it upon the 
right line, there can be no doubt that somewhere 
out in the wastes of the Atlantic the last European 
pterodactyl found its end. 

Gladys oh, my Gladys !-- Gladys of 
the mystic lake, now to be re-named the Cen- 
tral, for never shall she have immortality through 

304 The Lost World 

me. Did I not always see some hard fiber in her 
nature? Did I not, even at the time when I was 
proud to obey her behest, feel that it was surely a 
poor love which could drive a lover to his death 
or the danger of it? Did I not, in my truest 
thoughts, always recurring and always dismissed, 
see past the beauty of the face, and, peering into 
the soul, discern the twin shadows of selfishness 
and of fickleness glooming at the back of it ? Did 
she love the heroic and the spectacular for its 
own noble sake, or was it for the glory which 
might, without effort or sacrifice, be reflected 
upon herself? Or are these thoughts the vain 
wisdom which comes after the event ? It was the 
shock of my life. For a moment it had turned 
me to a cynic. But already, as I write, a week 
has passed, and we have had our momentous inter- 
view with Lord John Roxton and well, perhaps 
things might be worse. 

Let me tell it in a few words. No letter or tele- 
gram had come to me at Southampton, and I 
reached the little villa at Streatham about ten 
o'clock that night in a fever of alarm. Was she 
dead or alive ? Where were all my nightly dreams 
of the open arms, the smiling face, the words of 
praise for her man who had risked his life to 
humor her whim ? Already I was down from the 
high peaks and standing flat-footed upon earth. 
Yet some good reasons given might still lift me 
to the clouds once more. I rushed down the gar- 
den path, hammered at the door, heard the voice 
of Gladys within, pushed past the staring maid, 

A Procession! A Procession! 305 

and strode into the sitting-room. She was seated 
in a low settee under the shaded standard lamp 
by the piano. In three steps I was across the 
room and had both her hands in mine. 

"Gladys!" I cried, "Gladys!" 

She looked up with amazement in her face. 
She was altered in some subtle way. The ex- 
pression of her eyes, the hard upward stare, the 
set of the lips, was new to me. She drew back 
her hands. 

"What do you mean?" she said. 

"Gladys!" I cried. "What is the matter? 
You are my Gladys, are you not little Gladys 
Hunger ton?" 

"No," said she, "I am Gladys Potts. Let me 
introduce you to my husband." 

How absurd life is! I found myself mechani- 
cally bowing and shaking hands with a little 
ginger-haired man who was coiled up in the deep 
arm-chair which had once been sacred to my own 
use. We bobbed and grinned in front of each 

" Father lets us stay here. We are getting our 
house ready, " said Gladys. 

"Oh, yes," said I. 

"You didn't get my letter at Para, then?" 

"No, I got no letter." 

"Oh, what a pity! It would have made all 

"It is quite clear," said I. 

"I've told William all about you," said she. 
"We have no secrets. I am so sorry about it. 

306 The Lost World 

But it couldn't have been so very deep, could it, 
if you could go off to the other end of the world 
and leave me here alone. You're not crabby, are 

"No, no, not at all. I think I'll go." 

"Have some refreshment," said the little man, 
and he added, in a confidential way, "It's always 
like this, ain't it? And must be unless you had 
polygamy, only the other way round ; you under- 
stand." He laughed like an idiot, while I made 
for the door. 

I was through it, when a sudden fantastic im- 
pulse came upon me, and I went back to my suc- 
cessful rival, who looked nervously at the electric 

"Will you answer a question?" I asked. 

"Well, within reason," said he. 

"How did you do it? Have you searched for 
hidden treasure, or discovered a pole, or done 
time on a pirate, or flown the Channel, or what ? 
Where is the glamor of romance ? How did you 
get it?" 

He stared at me with a hopeless expression upon 
his vacuous, good-natured, scrubby little face. 

"Don't you think all this is a little too per- 
sonal?" he said. 

"Well, just one question," I cried. "What are 
you? What is your profession?" 

"I am a solicitor's clerk," said he. "Second 
man at Johnson and Meri vale's, 41 Chancery 

"Good-night!" said I, and vanished, like all 

A Procession! A Procession! 307 

disconsolate and broken-hearted heroes, into the 
darkness, with grief and rage and laughter all 
simmering within me like a boiling pot. 

more little scene, and I have done. Last 
night we all supped at Lord John Roxton's 
rooms, and sitting together afterwards we smoked 
in good comradeship and talked our adventures 
over. It was strange under these altered sur- 
roundings to see the old, well-known faces and 
figures. There was Challenger, with his smile of 
condescension, his drooping eyelids, his intol- 
erant eyes, his aggressive beard, his huge chest, 
swelling and puffing as he laid down the law to 
Summerlee. And Summerlee, too, there he was 
with his short briar between his thin moustache 
and his gray goat's-beard, his worn face protruded 
in eager debate as he queried all Challenger's 
propositions. Finally, there was our host, with 
his rugged, eagle face, and his cold, blue, glacier 
eyes with always a shimmer of devilment and of 
humor down in the depths of them. Such is the 
last picture of them that I have carried away. 

It was after supper, in his own sanctum the 
room of the pink radiance and the innumerable 
trophies that Lord John Roxton had something 
to say to us. From a cupboard he had brought 
an old cigar-box, and this he laid before him on 
the table. 

"There's one thing," said he, "that maybe I 
should have spoken about before this, but I 
wanted to know a little more clearly where 

308 The Lost World 

I was. No use to raise hopes and let them down 
again. But it's facts, not hopes, with us now. 
You may remember that day we found the pter- 
odactyl rookery in the swamp what? Well, 
somethin' in the lie of the land took my notice. 
Perhaps it has escaped you, so I will tell you. It 
was a volcanic vent full of blue clay." 

The Professors nodded. 

"Well, now, in the whole world I've only had to 
do with one place that was a volcanic vent of blue 
clay. That was the great De Beers Diamond 
Mine of Kimberley what ? So you see I got 
diamonds into my head. I rigged up a contrap- 
tion to hold off those stinking beasts, and I spent 
a happy day there with a spud. This is what I 

He opened his cigar-box, and tilting it over he 
poured about twenty or thirty rough stones, 
varying from the size of beans to that of chestnuts, 
on the table. 

"Perhaps you think I should have told you 
then. Well, so I should, only I know there are a 
lot of traps for the unwary, and that stones may 
be of any size and yet of little value where color 
and consistency are clean off. Therefore, I 
brought them back, and on the first day at home 
I took one round to Spink's, and asked him to 
have it roughly cut and valued." 

He took a pill-box from his pocket, and spilled 
out of it a beautiful glittering diamond, one of the 
finest stones that I have ever seen. 

"There's the result," said he. "He prices the 

A Procession! A Procession! 309 

lot at a minimum of two hundred thousand pounds. 
Of course it is fair shares between us. I won't 
hear of anythin' else. Well, Challenger, what 
will you do with your fifty thousand?" 

"If you really persist in your generous view," 
said the Professor, "I should found a private 
museum, which has long been one of my dreams." 

"And you, Summerlee?" 

" I would retire from teaching, and so find time 
for my final classification of the chalk fossils." 

"I'll use my own," said Lord John Roxton, 
"in fitting a well-formed expedition and having 
another look at the dear old plateau. As to you, 
young fellah, you, of course, will spend yours in 
gettin' married." 

- "Not just yet," said I, with a rueful smile. "I 
think, if you will have me, that I would rather go 
with you." 

Lord Roxton said nothing, but a brown hand 
was stretched out to me across the table.